Eastbourne community fundraisers Don and Abby McPhee are hoping the community will all pull together to make Angie and Alberto’s dream wedding become reality. 

This will be the third wedding that Don and Abby have arranged. This will take place at All Saints Chapel on Saturday 18th May. 

Here is Don: “Angie and Alberto are two of the kindest, most caring fun lovely people you could meet. Their door is always open for friends and family, they are always the first to offer help if someone is in need.

Three of their close friends have been diagnosed with cancer in the last few years. Angie has always been the first to give them support, be there for their appointments and sit through the chemo sessions, offering a much-needed distraction. Unfortunately, two of these friends are no longer with us.

Combined, they have over 56 years’ service with the NHS at Eastbourne DGH, both working tirelessly through Covid to help keep services running. Angie has worked as a ward clerk for over 20 years.

If you had an operation on the Hailsham ward Angie is likely to have been the friendly face that met you at the reception desk and delt with your administration needs – always happy to go that extra mile for patients and visitors.

Before working at the hospital, Angie was in the army from 1989 – 1995 working as a Royal electrical mechanical engineer, achieving her HGV and motorbike licence, giving her the skills to go on and deal with the most difficult situations.

She left the army to start her family and had two girls Jess and Abbie.

Alberto started work at the DGH at the age of 21 and is a very familiar face, always focusing on providing the best service possible. They both played in the hospital darts team and Alberto in the football team.

They met at the hospital and after many years of friendship, eventually got together over 15 years ago, bringing both their families together. Anyone that knows them would tell you how in love they are. Alberto would have loved to married Angie back then, family and work life was so busy, time has just flow by, then in more recent years the couple have been hit by illness.

Alberto came to England from Maderia when he was 8 years old, living in Eastbourne ever since. He has suffered from colitis from the age of 21. In 2009 due to ulcerative colitis, during a month of hospitalisation he had to have his bowel removed and was fitted with a stoma. At the age of 40 he was absolutely devastated.

Angie knew how difficult this was for him, after months of research about his condition Angie discovered there were alternative options available.

After 18 months they asked for a referral to a specialist consultant in London, who agreed to create Alberto an internal pouch, enabling him to have a better quality of life. This operation took a lot longer then anticipated and Alberto ended up with compartment syndrome in one leg. This led to him having to have further operations on his leg and a long stay in St Mark’s hospital, for rehabilitation and physio. The day before New Year’s Eve in 2017 Alberto had a heart attack and had to have 3 stents fitted.

Angie had been seeing the doctor for various symptoms that had been associated with the menopause. Symptoms can be very similar between the menopause and ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer, it is often in its advanced stages when it is diagnosed.

Due to her experience Angie would like to increase awareness and encourage any women that are concerned no matter how small their symptoms are to request a CA125 blood test. 

In August 2022 Angie went to A and E with a pain in her side. A CT scan found two large tumours, one on her ovary and one in her stomach lining, with a few smaller tumours surrounding them. She was sent over to the Conquest Hospital to be seen by a consultant and diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. From there Angie was refer to Brighton to undergo surgery. 

In the December Angie started 5 months of chemotherapy. Showing good signs of recovery, Angie went back to work. In December 2023 a blood test was taken and the results showed that it was likely that the cancer was back. This was confirmed in the January and Angie has been given 12 to 18 months to live. She is currently undergoing palliative chemotherapy to try to have more time with her family, friends and her beloved Alberto.

Even with all they have endured over the years, it has never stopped them helping others. They have such spirit and drive, enjoying the company of others, always laughing out loud and just enjoying life. Their love of socialising and Karaoke with friends never fails to entertain. At home they love their house and gardening.

During this already distressing time they are having to move from their beloved home for financial reasons, as Angie has had to retire on health grounds and wants to see Alberto settled into a smaller more financially manageable home before she passes. Life has given them a devastating blow, getting married means the world to them both. It would be amazing to give them both something special back, as they have devoted so much to others.”

If you would like to support Angie and Alberto with their dream wedding, you can donate to the following Just Giving page.Crowdfunding to raise money for the wedding of Angie & Alberto on JustGiving