A man proposed to his best friend after saving her life by donating a kidney, but was sadly turned down. Simon Louis donated a kidney to pal Mary Emmanuelle and following their successful surgeries, decided it was the right time to get down on one-knee.
However, Mary, although grateful for the life-saving donation, was forced to turn him down due to her ill-health.
Simon joked: "I offered her my heart but I had to settle for giving her my kidney. Whatever happens, I'll never regret giving her the gift of life."
Mary, 41, first met Simon, 49, over two decades ago, and although the pair were attracted to each other, their relationship remained platonic.
The pair remained close throughout the years, until one day in September 2014 when Mary collapsed at home.
She was rushed into Guy's Hospital, London, where she spent two months in intensive care; she was eventually given the heart-breaking news that she had end-stage kidney disease and warned she had only 'months to live'.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I was only 37 and had been given a death sentence. They told me that unless a kidney donor was found - which was highly unlikely because of my rare B Minus blood type - there was no hope. My name was put on a 'dead donor' list. All I could do was wait."
Although she was discharged from hospital in 2015, she had to return daily to undergo kidney dialysis.
Throughout it all, friend Simon visited her and helped look after her, helping to dress and feed her when she needed it.
To thank him for his help Mary arranged a holiday to Spain for the pair - even managing to sort access to a dialysis machine while she was away.
Their holiday was cut short, however, when they received a call to tell them a match had been found, but happiness was short-lived as by the time they had arrived back in the UK it had already gone to another patient.
At this point, Simon offered to get himself tested to see if he was a match. Two weeks later, despite the overwhelming odds the pair were told that he was - eight months of tests followed, before they were booked in to go under the knife.
Following their successful ops, the pair moved into Simon's flat where they both helped to look after each other and before long Mary moved back home but the two remained close.
A few months later, while cooking for her, Simon mentioned marriage. "Simon said we were like an old married couple and I laughed," Mary said. "But then he got serious and said that maybe we really should get married.
"I looked at him. Was this a proposal? I nodded and smiled, feeling incredibly flattered that he should want to marry me after seeing me at my absolute worst, and I said I'd love to but that because of my bad health I'd have to think about it.
"I'm on medication - and will be for the rest of my life but I can live a more or less normal existence now, as long as I avoid stress. Sadly, stress definitely includes planning a wedding and being a bride, so we've put that idea on hold for now.
"The love between us is real love. Simon could have died doing what he did for me. He saw me at my absolute worst but loved - and still loves -me for who I am. He is my very best friend and always will be."
Simon adds: "Whatever happens in the future between us, I'll never regret doing what I did. She says I gave her the best gift she could ever have been given: the gift of life. But I didn't think twice about it. There's no question about doing something like that for someone you love."