What began with a first dance at the St. Jude Teen Formal led to a first dance as husband and wife.
Thinking back on this journey, Lauren said, “For me, it is the Cinderella tale of how she goes to the ball and meets her Prince Charming, and they live happily ever after. Well, I did go to the dance, and I did meet my Prince Charming and getting to be with Chet is my happily ever after.”
But Lauren’s fairy-tale ending began with the worst day of her life. At 13 years old, she learned she had cancerous tumors in her neck, chest and leg. She was immediately referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where her treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma included chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Lauren’s treatment went well, and at 15, her cancer was in remission, her hair had grown back, and she was excited to attend the St. Jude Teen Formal, an annual dance on the hospital campus coordinated by the St. Jude Child Life Program.
It was there she met Chet, a boy her age who was being monitored by St. Jude for two blood disorders — severe aplastic anemia and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
St. Jude was literally a lifesaver to me. It taught me that you’re not promised tomorrow, so I try to live every day to the fullest. And if it wasn’t for St. Jude, I wouldn’t have met my fiancé.
That first dance led to a long-distance dating relationship of several years and then a proposal in December 2015.
“I knew I wanted to marry Lauren. Having similar experiences with St. Jude has really grown our relationship,” said Chet.
“St. Jude means the world to me,” added Lauren, “because of what they have done for me — not just on the physical level, but on a spiritual level and emotional level too. St. Jude was literally a lifesaver to me. It taught me that you’re not promised tomorrow, so I try to live every day to the fullest. And if it wasn’t for St. Jude, I wouldn’t have met my fiancé.”
St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Our purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.®
Chet and Lauren married on New Year’s Eve, to begin 2017 as husband and wife. Both intend to pursue careers in healthcare.