Ronda Bivens and her longtime boyfriend Matt Mager have been an item since they were in high school, and they have 2 children together, so their marriage was just a formality at this point. But it was a small detail that meant the world to this young couple for a tragic reason.
Last February doctors found a lump on Ronda's ankle. At first they thought it was just a sprain, but they soon realized Ronda had an extremely rare form of cancer called epithelioid sarcoma.
Only 1 in 2.5 million people get this disease, and doctors had no faith that Ronda would survive, but Matt kept Ronda's hope alive with a promise that he would keep no matter what.
“I said if anything happens, we will get married somehow, someway,” he told Huffpost.
The next year was almost unbearable. Ronda had her right leg amputated and went through chemotherapy, but the cancer still spread to her lungs and even her brain.
“They said, ‘We can just do what helps.’ But everything they’ve done has just made it worse," Matt said.
"It’s financially wrecked us, and I’ve had a front row seat to my best friend dying. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s very emotional.”
After an emergency room visit last week, doctors told the couple that Ronda had just days to live. So they decided to make the most of their situation, and in a few hours they had arranged a last-minute wedding.
Click the next page to see Ronda and Matt's ceremony.
Ronda was lying in a hospital bed at her home with a morphine drip in her arm when she said "I do" to Matt. The couple had quickly assembled their friends and family, a preacher and someone from the county clerk's office to make everything official.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house as the couple kissed. Amanda Dalton, a friend of the couple, spoke about their incredible love:
"He's been there nonstop for her since the beginning," she said.
"He loves her unconditionally. That's the truth."
Matt simply says that "she wanted to have a beautiful wedding, and I wanted to give her that."
The couple spent their "honeymoon" reminiscing about the ceremony earlier that day.
“She woke up last night and she was so excited about the wedding,” Matt said.
“We sat there and talked about it for an hour. She asked to see the wedding photos. We looked at them, laughed and cried and held each other.”
There's no telling how much more time these two have together, but we know it's not enough.
Ronda shared a warning to others about her condition, because her life might have been saved if it was caught earlier:
"If you find a bump of any sort go to the doctor. Go to a bunch of doctors for second opinions. Maybe if I did, instead of believing all these other misdiagnoses, things would be different.”
If you want to help cover Ronda and Matt's medical costs, you can visit their GoFundMe page.
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