Lanarkshire mum tragically dies after brave cancer battle just weeks after boyfriend proposed at her hospital bedside

A young Lanarkshire mum has tragically died just weeks after her “soul mate” boyfriend proposed at her hospital bedside.

Tributes have been paid to Coatbridge nurse Maria O’Neill, who sadly lost her battle with terminal cancer last Wednesday surrounded by her loved ones.

As Lanarkshire Live reported last month, mum-of-one Maria, 28, got engaged after her boyfriend Joe Weatherall got down on one knee and popped the question at Monklands Hospital, where she was receiving treatment.

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Maria said afterwards: “Sitting in a hospital bed, stinking, with no makeup, no nails, no hair or nothing is definitely not how I ever imagined my engagement to be, but it was beyond perfect and I am truly blessed.

“Joe said ‘let’s not waste any more time’ and I couldn’t agree more. He’s my absolute soul mate.”

Heartbroken Joe announced Maria’s passing on Facebook.

In an emotional post, he wrote: “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but as some of you may know our beautiful Maria O’Neill gained her angel wings this morning surrounded by all of her family.

“Everyone who knows Maria knows that words will never be able to really tell how amazing, kind, gentle and perfect she is.

“She is literally the most amazing person I’ve ever met and had the pleasure of knowing and being with.

“What she had to go through in the end, no one should ever have to go through, but Maria did it with courage and fought right until the very end with her infectious smile that she always had on her face.

The moment Joe asked Maria to be his wife in Monklands Hospital

“She is the bravest and most incredible person, and I am so proud to be her partner and fiancé.

“She made the last couple of years of my life the best couple I’ve ever had and I will be eternally grateful and remember every second I spent with her by my side.”

Maria, who is a mum to two-year-old Mila, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in May 2021 after finding a lump in her breast.

After numerous rounds of chemotherapy, she underwent a lumpectomy to remove the tumor in November last year.

Maria and Joe have been together for two years
Maria and Joe have been together for the past two years

A few months later she was told there was no evidence of disease and said she was over the moon at the prospect of being able to move on with her life.

Sadly after finding another lump in February 2022, Maria was told her cancer had now spread to her sternum, spine and also her lungs and she was diagnosed as having stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

Joe described Maria as the “best mama” and said he will never stop loving her.

He added: “She is also the best mama to wee Mila that she could ever have asked for and we will never ever let Mila forget that.

“I beg you to shine down on me forever and I hope I do you proud Maria and I will always be your Joe, that’s never going to change.

“Sleep tight and you can now rest in peace gorgeous.

“Shine bright up there like we know you will and I’ll never ever stop loving you and will see you again.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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