Jakey and childhood sweetheart Emma met in grade school when they were just 11-years-old. Although they couldn’t know it at the time, their relationship would impact their futures in ways that they could never imagine. One day, before their big adventure to the tropics, Emma was on one of her regular trips to visit Jakey.

On the last day of their blissful stretch of time together, she asked a simple request of her boyfriend: to give her a neck massage. The enchanted couple seemed to have everything going for them, and were planning the rest of their life together just as any other young couple would, blissfuly unaware of what fate had in store But soon after, things took an unexpected tragic turn that completely changed everything.

The request seemed simple enough and Jakey obliged, happy to do something nice for the woman that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but as he wrapped his hands around her, he noticed something that made him freeze. Jakey had found a lump in Emma’s neck and immediately feared the worst. “We were just two people in love lying on a beach without a care in the world… who would have known what was to happen next…” he reminisced. Much to their devastation, the couple was informed that Emma was one of the youngest people in the country with a rare type of thyroid cancer.

The diagnosis confirmed that it had spread to her spine, lungs, liver and bones. Heartbreakingly, they were told that Emma’s condition was incurable. Taking on life hand-in-hand, Emma and Jakey decided they wouldn’t give in to the disease and together they defiantly charged ahead fully prepared to battle for her young life. Like everything in life, Emma approached the feat with her signature optimism and a megawatt smile, per reports.

Jakey filled Emma’s final days with love and laughter. They adopted a fur-baby named Molly, wrote a children’s book together and raised money cancer charities. But the cancer finally got the better of Emma 9 months into their marriage. Jakey talks about Emma’s final moments in the beautiful tribute he wrote soon after her death: “She was surrounded by all her family and was as comfortable as she could be,” Jakey wrote on their blog. “The evening sun was still shining, the French doors were open, the birds were singing their evening song and three dogs and a very minxy Milly moo (Emma and my beautiful 2 and a half year old niece) played and danced around her in a perfect blissful ignorance. It was exactly how Emma would have wanted it to be.”