This enjoy story is straight out of a Nicholas Sparks or John Inexperienced tear-jerker.
Alexis Gould Stafford, 21, was going through chemotherapy at a children’s healthcare facility when she satisfied her potential partner, Ricky Stafford, 23, who was in remission and there for a look at-up.
“Our story is identical to ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’” Alexis told Kennedy News, comparing their courtship to the 2014 film about a teenage couple who meet up with and fall in appreciate in a most cancers support team. “But it’s not a incredibly pleased movie — when I consider back again on my lifetime and on our story — it’s a happy tale and that’s the difference.”
The pair achieved at Key Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah, in 2016, immediately after Alexis, then 15, listened to tunes blasting from then 17-12 months-previous Ricky’s space.
“I considered it was heading to be a very little boy but Ricky was tall with dark thick hair — he was in remission at the time. He arrived out and began dancing and introducing himself and we turned pals ideal absent,” Alexis stated.
Alexis experienced been diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma — most cancers of the nerves — in September 2015 and put in considerably of the upcoming 17 months as an in-patient, enduring 6 rounds of extreme chemo, 4 major surgical procedures, two stem cell transplants and countless other treatments.
Ricky had been identified with acute lymphoblastic leukemia — cancer influencing white blood cells — in February 2014 and underwent five months of extreme chemo adopted by two decades of oral chemo.
“I was experience alone because most of the little ones at the medical center had been younger, so to have someone who was all around my age and realized what I was heading through just created every thing so much less complicated,” Alexis mentioned.
The teenagers speedily turned ideal buddies as they bonded over their sickness and currently being two of the oldest little ones in the hospital.
The two continued their friendship as Ricky visited Alexis in the hospital when she underwent remedy in excess of the following calendar year.
“As a teenage child, sometimes you prioritize physical qualities but in that problem, Lexi was bald and genuinely tiny and skinny and did not have any eyelashes or something like that. But what drew me to her was just her smile and the spirit that accommodated her — she just has a way of producing people experience liked with no even expressing just about anything,” Ricky shared.
“I was extremely informed she was in the center of something quite weighty, acquiring just long gone through most cancers myself not far too long ahead of.”
However, Ricky’s well being deteriorated and his cancer returned the upcoming yr whilst he was in Boston, Massachusetts, on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in April 2017.
Alexis needed to assistance her greatest mate as he had done for her and commenced flying to Boston to be with him. Which is when the two recognized their accurate thoughts for 1 another and fell in enjoy.
“It manufactured all the change in the world to have her there as a result of my cancer journey,” Ricky stated.
“Having someone there who you like and enjoys you is type of crucial when you’re heading by trials in daily life. It helps make you want to combat harder but it also would make the journey much easier due to the fact you’re not enduring the ache by by yourself, you’re sharing some of that fat.”
Wanting to choose gain of each individual little bit of daily life they experienced left, Ricky proposed to Alexis just two months into courting. He popped the concern on the anniversary of his leukemia analysis, Feb. 24, 2018.
Regardless of his ongoing struggle with most cancers, the pair was married on Sept. 15 of that calendar year — the anniversary of the day Alexis was diagnosed with cancer — at 18 and 19 decades old.
“I feel I was a minimal little bit selfish inquiring her to marry me at that moment because I had just been identified with cancer all over again and I did not have a task or a video game prepare. But I requested her to marry me because I necessary a person who understood what I was likely via to be there for me mainly because I was fearful,” Ricky mentioned of the determination.
“A ton of people would operate from a condition like that but Lexi didn’t run and I’m so grateful for that.”
Alexis was not anticipating the proposal but was happy to accept and get started her lifestyle with Ricky. “We knew that lifestyle is not constantly promised and we resolved to devote what time we have jointly,” Alexis reported.
“He amazed me and proposed on the day of the anniversary of when he was identified and then we bought married on my prognosis working day — we took the really hard dates and designed them a rationale to smile,” she added.
The pair began their engagement throughout Ricky’s relapse, but he was capable to end his intensive chemo remedy just two months in advance of they tied the knot. He continued to take oral steroids for an additional two a long time and at last went into remission in January 2020.
But the Stafford’s struggles weren’t about nonetheless. Many months following Ricky began remission, Alexis’ health and fitness took a further turn for the worse that December. She commenced to bleed internally while getting biopsies finished to test for a likely tumor, and by January 2021 she was in hospice.
Fortuitously soon after three months, with the constant assistance of her most effective buddy-turned-husband, Alexis defeat the odds nevertheless all over again, recovering more than enough to be discharged.
“I’m 5 yrs cancer-absolutely free now and Ricky is technically in remission but in a pair of a long time he’ll be verified cancer-totally free as effectively,” she claimed.
“Now we’re just concentrating on investing no matter what time we have together and earning the most out of life.”