More than 2,000 couples from around Ireland entered an online competition
to be voted the country’s most romantic couple and win a trip to Italy.
With 4,292 votes, Co. Meath couple Jessica O’Bryan and Gerard Hanlon topped the poll and won the contest run by TopFlight Holidays.
The two have been together since they were teenagers, and were married in March last year. In 2011, Jessica was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease which affects the organs. In her moving contest entry, Jessica explains how the ongoing treatments for her condition took over from wedding preparations.
"I attend hospital now every two weeks to sit in a chair for six hours while I get chemotherapy through IV drip,” she wrote in her entry.
"And every single session Ger sits with me for six hours on a tiny stool to keep me company (in fairness he does get his fair share of biscuits and tea from the nurses, so he’s not too badly off.
"We’re not sitting over a candlelit dinner or spelling each other’s names out in the sand but we sit there chatting and laughing for six solid hours."
After winning, she said:"I’m still in shock, we’re delighted. I always wanted to go to Sorrento, we were going to book it this year but it was too expensive.
"This is brilliant now… I’ve two (medical) sessions left, the last one is on July 9. When it’s over, hopefully I’ll be in remission. The holiday will be my post-treatment treat; hopefully I’ll be in full health," she told Evoke.ie.
Jessica and Gerard will fly to Sorrento in September for a romantic stay at the four-star Hotel Bristol overlooking the Bay of Naples.