Zach, then 26 years old, had plans to marry his high school sweetheart, Madison. However, their lives took a devastating turn when Zach was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his liver and lungs.
This news was particularly difficult for Zach, as he had always been conscious of his health. Despite going into remission and getting engaged, their happiness was short-lived when a tumor was discovered on Zach’s spinal cord.
He underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy, but in March, an MRI revealed that the treatment was no longer effective. By this point, cancer had spread to his brain.
Madison expressed her fears, saying, “I felt like my worst nightmare was coming true. All of the worst thoughts were going through my head, thinking, how am I going to do this life without him? But I knew he was a fighter.”
Putting their trust in God, the couple faced this difficult situation head-on. Although they had already postponed their wedding twice due to Zach’s illness, they desperately wanted to be married because of their deep love for each other.
The idea of having the wedding in the hospital was suggested by social workers, and just two days later, their ceremony was arranged with the help of hospital staff, told Today.
The cake, decorations, and a bouquet for the bride were all prepared. Madison’s parents obtained the wedding outfits, and Madison’s father, Chris, assisted Zach in getting ready in the hospital while Madison got ready in the bone marrow transplant ward one floor below.
Madison recalls a nurse helping with her hair and makeup on her day off, and improvisations like using safety pins to secure her dress, as it hadn’t been fitted. Before the wedding, Madison joined her tearful father on the fourth floor, overwhelmed by the situation.
They then proceeded along the hospital hallway, where all the patients came out of their rooms to witness the wedding. The nurses and doctors, dressed up for the occasion, captured moments on camera.
Zach, in his wheelchair and hooked up to his chemo treatment and pain pump, had a smile on his face. Madison said, “I knew he was fighting so hard to just be there.
Being able to get married to him that day was the best day of my life. Even though it wasn’t the wedding we initially thought, it couldn’t have been any better.”
Concerns arose when Zach experienced issues with his central nervous system. His oncologist initially believed it was peripheral neuropathy caused by chemotherapy.
However, a tumor was discovered in Zach’s spinal cord, requiring immediate surgery to prevent permanent paralysis. The surgery was a “true miracle,” as stated by a colorectal surgeon, although it left Zach with a feeding tube and ileostomy bag.
The couple’s biggest victory came when Zach was approved for a bone marrow transplant, which proved successful, leading to his declaration of being cancer-free.
Madison continued to pray for her husband each night and received answered prayers when doctors confirmed that the lesion in Zach’s brain had completely disappeared and the lesion in his spinal cord had transformed into residual scar tissue.
Madison expressed her disbelief that chemotherapy and hospital visits were finally over, and they had reached the light at the end of the tunnel. She described it as the most amazing thing.