A Melbourne couple is in a race against time to marry while battling cancer.

Cas Willow and Heather Richards plan to marry on Monday after receiving permission from the registry of births, deaths and marriages to wed without the usual 30-day waiting period, The Age has reported.

Willow has terminal cancer and may not survive the year.

The couple have been together for 17 years, and were engaged the day marriage equality passed in parliament.

Willow has been receiving treatment at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where staff suggested the couple could apply for a fast-tracked wedding.

Richards said the wedding will make their relationship complete.

“There is a lot of tolerance out there because people have to be politically correct, but there is not a great deal of acceptance,” she said.

“It’s a bit like having an insincere friend.

“We were playing house for a long time.”

Willow has metastatic breast cancer and has endured treatments including mastectomy, removal of her ovaries, radiation and chemotherapy.

After believing she had beaten the cancer, her condition worsened this year and she was diagnosed as terminal two months ago.

Now, Willow and Richards hope to have just a few weeks or even days of marriage while they still can.

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has provided support while treating Willow, and will even be their wedding venue on Monday.

“We are thrilled to support the celebration of Cas and Heather’s marriage, and we are committed to providing a compassionate and supportive environment for all patients and staff of Peter Mac,” said the centre’s chief executive Dale Fisher.

A rush of marriages is expected in the new year, as LGBTI couples who have waited for marriage equality are finally able to wed.

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