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UK Couple Comes to Jacksonville For Cancer Treatment, Weds At UF Health Proton Institute

A UK couple came to Jacksonville in April as David Leek and Bobbie Godden, and will be leaving Mr. and Mrs. David Michael Leek Sr.

The two married Wednesday on a staircase overlooking UF Health Proton Therapy Institute’s lobby in Jacksonville.

Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
Bobbie Godden and David Leek married in UF Health Proton Therapy Institute’s lobby Wednesday.

Leek and Godden arrived in Jacksonville about a month ago for Leek to get Proton therapy, a type of radiation treatment. Leek was first diagnosed with a spinal tumor, called a sacral chordoma in 2014. After having it removed, it came back. Following Leek’s second surgery his doctor recommended he follow-up with proton therapy.

The couple has been together for 13 years and have two kids. David even has Bobbie’s name tattooed on his wrist, but they had never married.

“But obviously four years now of cancer, so then getting offered proton therapy in this country and then [to] come here and I think it was just the whole thing of having this treatment, closing one chapter and opening another,” David said.

Bobbie walked down the staircase aisle to piano music, wearing a flower crown and carrying a bouquet of flowers adorned with a seashell and starfish. The two exchanged vows in front of patients, doctors and friends they’ve met along the way.

And as for picking the lobby of a medical building as the venue, David said it was just the right call.

“You always see these  films where people come over to America and they’ll go and find an Elvis Presley, that sort of thing, an impersonator and get married like that,” he said. ”And we talked about getting married on the beach or something like that.”

But they kept landing back on UF Health.

Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News
Bobbie Godden and David Leek get married on a staircase overlooking UF Health Proton Therapy Institute’s lobby.

“I feel that we’ve uplifted people,” Bobbie said. “Everybody who comes here is pulling one way or another and for us, to do what we’ve done, it’s taken their mind off of that and given them something else over the last four weeks to focus on.”

David has six more weeks of therapy left and he hopes it’s the cure.

“We’ve never had a lot of luck in our lives, obviously getting cancer is not a lot of luck, but we just feel that the love and everything else it starts giving you a bit of a different outlook on life,” David said. “And there is someone over there watching over you. There must be someone watching over to give me this treatment and then making this day happen and obviously meeting so many lovely people in Jacksonville honestly, really.”

The Leeks were the first to ever tie the knot on-site at the Institute. Another patient wedding is scheduled at the same location on May 31.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.
Alexandra is a senior Media and Communication Studies major at the Florida State University. She enjoys hiking, biking and anything exercise. An avid music enthusiast, she loves checking out the locale music and theatre scene every chance she gets. Post-graduation she hopes to pursue a career that incorporates both radio and music in her life. Past and current writing, editing and reporting experience includes College Magazine, FSU's V89 Radio and Moose Magnificat Radio.