It would make my Christmas if I could get my precious rings back, says cancer survivor
Published on: 01 Dec 2017
A MUM who beat cancer has launched an emotional appeal after thieves made off with her precious wedding and engagement rings.
Bryony Bateman, 28, says the resale price of the jewellery is minimal but their sentimental value is huge because they hold memories of a friend who lost his own fight against cancer.
She is appealing to the thieves to post the rings back through her letterbox of her home in Briar Way, Fishponds, and for anyone who may have been offered the jewellery to get in touch.
Thieves broke into the home she shares with husband Neal and three-year-old daughter Eva by smashing the back door on Wednesday October 25 at about 8pm.
As both Bryony and Neal, 33, were at work, the burglary was discovered by Neal's mother when she arrived at the house with Eva.
Bryony had taken her rings off because it wasn't safe for her to wear them when working as a palliative care support worker.
Her bridal set had disappeared along with several other rings, including one which was an 18th birthday present from her mum.
Bryony said: "Our back door bottom panel was kicked through, the house turned over and my beloved wedding rings were taken. I was absolutely gutted. It's not the cost of them but it's the memories of my cancer fight which means so much to me."
Bryony was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in July 2012, less than a year before her planned wedding to Neal, a baker.
At the age of just 23, Bryony endured an eight-and-a-half-hour operation to remove a tumour on the side of her neck and found herself in intensive care for four days.
Facing radiotherapy, Bryony was determined she would recover so she could marry the man she loved.
Bryony said: "We were engaged and planned to marry in May 2013 but didn't know at the time whether we were going to have to postpone the wedding or if I was going to be well enough.
"Throughout my recovery from the surgery and my radioactive treatment, the thing that kept me positive and focused was planning our wedding."
As part of her recovery, Bryony and Neal travelled to Bournemouth for an activity holiday with the Youth Cancer Trust.
It was there where the couple met a fellow guest called Kieran who had been battling a brain tumour since the late 1990s.
"Kieran was there on the week we were there and we got to know each other. Neal would play him at pool and table football and Kieran helped him understand more about cancer and how it was affecting me. Neal got to see cancer from another perspective, which was so important in him understanding what I was going through."
With so much in common, the trio spent the week hanging out together and 35-year-old Kieran became pivotal in choosing the rings Bryony would come to treasure so much.
Bryony said: "One afternoon, we went into Bournemouth town to have a coffee and look around the shops. We kept walking past a jewellers and I remarked on how lovely a ring was.
"When the three of us returned on another afternoon, we walked past the jewellers again and Neal said, 'Come on, let's go in and see if they have your size'.
"Funnily enough, the only size they had left was my size! They told us all about the diamond ring and how it had a ruby hidden underneath. I'd already had an engagement ring but it was quite basic and we'd always planned to get another. I tried the ring on, and Kieran told Neal he must buy it for me. Neal said 'Right, if Kieran says you're having it, you're having it!' Neal then bought it for me with the matching wedding ring."
Bryony and Kieran kept in touch, texting and sharing messages on Facebook and following each other's trials and tribulations as they both battled cancer.
Then, in March 2013, Bryony received the news she had been hoping for when she was told her cancer was in remission.
It meant the couple's wedding could go ahead and they married on May 18, 2013 at St Mary's Church in Bitton.
Sadly, Kieran was too ill to travel to the wedding and he eventually lost his fight in February 2015.
"Kieran made such an impact on our lives in such a short space of time," Bryony said.
"My ring was a reminder of Kieran and how much he fought every day but remained so positive throughout his fight.
"Kieran loved the hidden ruby in the ring and thought it was so clever. I know I still have my memories but it's such a shame because the rings meant so much. We only met in person for the five days that we were away but we literally saw each other from the moment we got up to the moment we went to bed.
"It was so sad when Kieran died because he had been so determined to beat his cancer. His death is a constant reminder that it could have been me and how lucky I am."
Bryony, who has been circulating photos of the rings on social media and contacting various pawn brokers, said it uld make her Christmas if she were to be reunited with her rings.
"Neal and I work hard just to live and those rings were the most expensive things we've ever owned and probably always will be.
"They aren't worth much second-hand but the thieves didn't care - they just ransacked the house and took what they could get.
"If they could just put them back through my door or post them to me, I'd be happy. I don't even want to know who they are, I just want my rings back."
If anyone knows anything about the rings please email email@example.com
Anyone with information about the crime can ring the police on 101, quoting crime reference number 5217244027.