AN IPSWICH dress shop is helping to fulfil a man’s wish to marry his long-term partner after he recently received the news that he may only have two years to live.

Corry Barlow has had two benign tumours removed over the past few years and was given the all-clear until a third growth came back malignant.

“They found cancer in the bladder wall, which they removed and they removed the tumour and gave him a little bit of chemo and said you should be fine,” his fiance Stephanie Helmer said.

“A year and a half later, terminal. We went and sat with a doctor and they told him that he has terminal cancer. He has two years maximum. Without treatment, he has six months.

“He’s got bladder cancer, bowel cancer, lymph cancer in the pelvis, double lung cancer and blood cancer.

“It was the worst day of my life and the worst day of his life. I don’t think either of us have ever cried so much.”

Stephanie Helmer with her husband to be Corry Barlow and their three children Catherynne, Corbynne and Claytonne.

Stephanie Helmer with her husband to be Corry Barlow and their three children Catherynne, Corbynne and Claytonne.


The couple has been together for 12 years and engaged for 11 but had struggled to officially tie the knot between having children and gathering their finances.

“There was plenty of planning, but nothing ever eventuated from it all,” she said.

“His first thing on his bucket list is to get married.”

Ms Helmer wanted to make his dream come true and started looking for her wedding dress.

That’s when she discovered Formally Yours at Redbank Plaza.

The shop provides free formal dresses and heavily discounted wedding gowns to give others the opportunity to feel beautiful.

Sam Harrison is the fairy godmother behind the store and sorted Stephanie’s wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses for free.

“When I put it on, I had tears in my eyes. Everyone was like, when you cry, you know. I tried others and I was like, no, no no, and I just kept looking at it and I knew it was the one.”

Ms Harrison posted Ms Helmer’s story on the store’s Facebook page and was inundated with offers and support from the Ipswich community.



Stephanie Helmer and husband to be Corry.

Stephanie Helmer and husband to be Corry.



“I cried a few times reading the post and at the number of people who have approached Sam,” Ms Helmer said.

“It means everything to me to give him the one day he really wants.”

“For other people in our situation, we hope that our story gives them the courage to come out and tell their story and let them know that where they need help and assistance, it’s there for them.”

Ms Harrison is doing all she can to bring together the elements needed for the couple’s dream day, set for 14 March.

“We do need someone to alter the dress. If there is a proper seamstress that would be willing to, that would be great, we want it to look as good as we can.”

She hopes to secure two Mustangs, hair and make-up, videography and a few other final touches for the big day.




Contact: Sam Harrison

Phone: 0477 909 459

Located: Level 3, Redbank Plaza.

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