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From a Wake to a Wedding / Nick Ehrhardt

From a Wake to a Wedding

Being diagnosed with a terminal illness often means that the focus of one's life becomes dealing with the disease.

"When they said it would not be months, but weeks, I took that to mean a wedding was off the table," said Liza Heaton, 25 after learning that her rare cancer, synovial sarcoma, had returned after three years in remission. Complicating matters was a gastrointestinal blockage that would prevent treatment. However, her significant other, Wyatt Heaton, responded to the news by suggesting they get married that weekend.

Friends and family came from all over the country to spend time with Liza Heaton at what was initially described to them as a lakeside fish fry. Once there, they were surprised to find out they were wedding guests.

"I wanted that day to be about the wedding, not about cancer," she said.

Although at that point she was spending less than 30 minutes a day out of bed, she stayed on her feet celebrating for eight hours. The next day, doctors discovered that the obstruction had cleared, allowing them to begin chemotherapy treatment.

With the new prognosis she is hopeful for a complete recovery. And she encourages others facing a terminal diagnosis to hold onto hope.

"Maybe it will turn around," she said, "and if it doesn't, enjoy what you have. Enjoy the time you have left."