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In sickness and in health.
A Michigan couple has moved their wedding date forward after they were both diagnosed with cancer.
Clay Slenk, 24, popped the question to his high-school sweetheart Mariah Nelesen, 23, in December 2020, with their nuptials scheduled for June 10 of this year.
However, the pair’s plans were thrown into chaos in January when Nelesen received a phone call from her doctor telling her that she had ovarian cancer.
Shockingly, just eight days later, Slenk’s life was also turned upside down when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
“We’re into it deep,” Slenk told KTLA in an interview. “And it’s not just one person, it’s both of us.”
Slenk’s diagnosis required “immediate treatment” and he was forced to spend more than 40 days in the hospital.
During that time, Nelesen began the process of freezing her eggs as she will also be required to undergo cancer treatments that could impact her fertility.
The lovebirds have pushed forward their wedding to April 9 so they can begin further treatments as a married couple.
Slenk will undergo a stem cell transplant shortly after they tie the knot.
“We moved up our wedding date so we could be married during that time, so she would be here to take care of me and we could go through that hard part together,” Slenk explained.
The couple is remaining optimistic as they look to begin life as a married couple, despite the uncertainties that await them in the future.
“Why be angry? If I’m angry and frustrated and down and negative, all it’s going to do is make this day that much worse,” Slenk stated.
On the upside, the groom said the diagnoses have already deepened the bond he shares with Nelesen, and made him realize that she truly is the love of his life.
“It won’t be easy going forward, but we know that it’ll be more meaningful to go through it together,” he declared. “There’ll be a little more sickness before the health, but that’s alright,” he said.
A GoFundMe for the couple has raised more than $35,000.
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