A British bride is being slammed as the ultimate bridezilla after she falsely claimed she had terminal cancer and even shaved her head, just to get friends to donate money so that she could fund her dream wedding.
“It’s gone to my brain, my bones – it’s everywhere,” Toni Standen, 29, told local reporters as she launched her hoax, according to the Mirror.
Standen went on to deliver an emotional plea, saying that she wanted her 57-year-old dad Derek, who was actually suffering from cancer, to walk her down the aisle. Though he died before her wedding, a recording was played of him at the ceremony.
“After hearing her father’s labored words she got up and gave a faultless speech, even cracking a few jokes,” one guest said. “Her mother and brother were in bits. We’d all just listened to a father of the bride message from beyond the grave.”
Everton FC, a local soccer club, recorded a video for Standen and her new husband James, 52, in which a top player wished them luck.
“She laughed throughout,” the guest added.
After the wedding in Widnes, Cheshire, Standen and James headed to a hotel, where witnesses saw them counting cash they received before they jetted off for a honeymoon in Turkey. Friends first became suspicious that Standen had been faking having cancer all along when she claimed to have contracted COVID-19.
“She could have won an Oscar, her acting was that good. She fooled us all. We were all completely sucked in,” said her college friend Cheryl Aston. “She told me she was dying and I fell for it.”
“I remember her telling me that her cancer had come back and that it was terminal. She told me it had spread to her bones and her organs. I was devastated – everyone was,” Ashton added. “She said she wanted her dad to walk her down the aisle before either of them died. Everyone pulled together. People didn’t have much but they wanted to give what they could.”
“I wanted to help so badly but I couldn’t afford a lot. I asked her about doing a fundraiser. She said, ‘Yeah, yeah, every little helps,’” Ashton added.
Friends even made a GoFundMe page for Standen to give the couple “a wedding they deserve.”
Standen first told a local paper that she had cancer in June of 2017, and she claimed it was terminal in March of last year. She alleged in January of 2020 that she only had two months to live because her organs were failing.
In February, a post on her Facebook page read, “RIP TONI. Our lovely Toni passed away last night, surrounded by friends and family… strong until the end.”
Though Standen claimed that hackers had written the post, her friends were not buying it.
“She did it for attention – to see what people would say about her if she died,” one friend said.
Standen’s friends finally confronted her when she claimed she’d tested positive for COVID-19, and she eventually admitted that it had all been a lie. When she pleaded guilty last week to false representation, Judge Nicholas Sanders slammed her for committing a “horrible breach of trust.”
Though her punishment has not been publicized, it’s known that Standen will need to repay all of the donated money.
“If we get anything back, I’m going to donate it to a cancer charity,” Ashton said. “There needs to be some light at the end of this dark tale.”
This piece originally appeared in UpliftingToday.com and is used by permission.
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