Woman's sister offers to have her husband's baby so he can become a father ...

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A woman has revealed how her sister has offered to carry her husband's baby to help make him a father before he dies.

Jennifer, 37, and Jonny McMillan, from Belfast, are desperate to have a child together and have been trying to conceive for nine years.

Jonny, 38, has been battling ependymoma, a rare cancer which forms on the brain and spinal cord, and earlier this year he was told that he cannot be cured.

But becoming a father remains at the top of his bucket list, and so Jennifer's sister Christina Beattie, 40, has offered to be a surrogate for the couple to give them a greater chance of success.

Yet with the fertility treatment costing £6,000, the family have been fundraising to make Jonny's last wish come true.

Jennifer, 37, and Jonny McMillan (pictured together), from Belfast, are desperate to have a child together and have been trying to conceive for nine years

Jennifer, 37, and Jonny McMillan (pictured together), from Belfast, are desperate to have a child together and have been trying to conceive for nine years

Jennifer's big sister Christina Beattie (pictured right, with her sibling), 40, has offered to be a surrogate for the couple to give them a greater chance of success

Jennifer's big sister Christina Beattie (pictured right, with her sibling), 40, has offered to be a surrogate for the couple to give them a greater chance of success

'Jonny refuses to ask how much time he's got left; but we know the clock is ticking,' explains Jennifer, 37, who got together with Jonny ten years ago.

'If we want Jonny to be at the birth of his child, to change nappies, get up for night feeds and push a swing in the park, then every day counts.

'I desperately want to give him chance to be a daddy before he dies. It'll be his lasting legacy.' 

Jennifer already has a son, Jay, from a previous relationship, who was just four at the time the couple met, and Jonny soon became a father figure to him.

Jonny, 38, has been battling ependymoma, a rare cancer which forms on the brain and spinal cord, and earlier this year he was told that he cannot be cured

The couple pictured together in Christmas 2015

Jonny (pictured with Jennifer, left, in 2011, and right, in 2015), 38, has been battling ependymoma, a rare cancer which forms on the brain and spinal cord, and earlier this year he was told that he cannot be cured

Wanting to become a father remains at the top of Jonny's Bucket List. Yet with the fertility treatment costing £6,000, the family have been fundraising to make Jonny's last wish come true. Pictured: Jonny and Jennifer together

Wanting to become a father remains at the top of Jonny's Bucket List. Yet with the fertility treatment costing £6,000, the family have been fundraising to make Jonny's last wish come true. Pictured: Jonny and Jennifer together

'Jonny has always been a brilliant step-dad,' she said. 'He used to spend hours painstakingly building Lego sets – only for Jay to come along and smash them up!

'One Christmas we bought Jay a bike, and Jonny took him straight to our local park to teach him how to ride it. As he got older they went on fishing trips together – although Jay always moaned about the lack of WiFi by the river!'

Jonny loved being a step-father but he'd always wanted kids of his own, so the couple began trying. They even had a cycle of IVF in 2012 but failed to fall pregnant.

WHAT IS AN EPENDYMOMAS? 

An ependymoma is a tumour that forms when cells in the brain and spinal cord begin to rapidly multiply. 

Ependymomas can happen at any age. When they occur in children they are usually found in the brain. In adults they are more commonly found in the spinal cord.

Treatment begins with surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, then radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or radiosurgery.

An ependymoma in the brain of a child can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and an increasing head size due to fluid trapped in the skull.

Adults may experience a blind spot, some weakness or paralysis and changes in thinking and personality.

People with a spinal ependymoma can experience pain, difficulty in moving and even paralysis.

'We were only entitled to one free cycle on the NHS and it was too pricey to have another go,' Jennifer recalled.

Jonny added: 'We decided to just keep trying and see what happened. I always say that if somethings meant for you, then it'll come your way.'

But in 2014, shortly after they tied the knot and returned home from honeymooning in Egypt, Jonny began complaining of a severe headache at the base of his skull.

Jennifer explained: 'He was a typical man, I was used to him complaining of man-flu every time he caught a sniffle. But this was something different.

'Over the space of 13 weeks he went to our GP 27 times, but the doctors put it down to the stress and the excitement of our , or a virus, doling out painkillers and even antidepressants.

'Jonny was desperate for help. He even told me one day that he thought he'd got a brain tumour, but I told him not to be over dramatic. He was only 33.'

One Sunday in November 2014, Jonny became so poorly that Jennifer decided to take him to A&E at Belfast's Ulster Hospital.

They were sitting on a trolley together, waiting for scan results, when a doctor came to talk to them.

'I'll never forget it,' says Jennifer. 'I almost fell off the trolley in shock. The doctor told us they'd found a large mass on Jonny's brain, which they were pretty sure was a tumour.

Jennifer already has a son, Jay, from a previous relationship, who was just four at the time the couple met, and Jonny soon became a father figure to him. The pair pictured together at a firing range for Jay's 14th birthday

Jay and Jonny on holiday together

Jennifer already has a son, Jay, from a previous relationship, who was just four at the time the couple met, and Jonny soon became a father figure to him. The pair pictured together at a firing

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