With only months to live, 18-year-old Leslie Rivera got the wedding of her dreams last Thursday as she married the love of her life. Daniel Mendez hasn’t left her side since she graduated high school last spring, and his tender care of her meant she only had one thing on her mind when she was referred the Make-A-Wish Foundation -- she wanted to get married.
Leslie and Daniel met in October 2012 at an anti-racism group, months before she received a diagnosis of an aggressive and terminal form of leukemia. They’ve been inseparable ever since, even though she’s had to spend most of her time in the hospital.
To pass the time, Leslie would watch Unveiled and My Fair Wedding, shows starring celebrity wedding planner David Tutera. Make-A-Wish reached out to him and let him know the urgency of the situation, and within days, he was on board.
Tutera and his team planned every detail of Leslie’s big day with her, which she said she wanted to be similar to the one in the Twilight movie.
Sarah Pizzaruso of Make-A-Wish said that vendors jumped at the chance to offer their services, and the end result was everything Leslie wanted, right down to the chocolate-covered strawberries and a photo booth. Pizzaruso said:
Watching Leslie absolutely radiate in front of her guests, greeting people with a smile, staring so lovingly at her new husband as they toasted the crowd - you would have never known the challenges she is going through … and watching Daniel care for her, assisting her walking, holding her hands during the vows -- there is no question these two are meant to be together.
Oh my gosh -- cry! How beautiful that this girl gets to spend the time she has left surrounded by love and joy, and a husband that adores her? It’s like a real life version of A Walk to Remember, and that makes me sad and happy at the same time, but mostly makes me want to seize the heck out of life.
Leslie, you were a gorgeous bride, and your story is an inspiration of love.
What would you do if you found out you only had months to live?
Image via Andrew Morrell/Flickr