NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In sickness and health – they are marriage vows that many consider sacred and two North Texas high school sweethearts have already taken them… even though they won’t tie the knot until next month.
The wedding for young bride Sarena Saad will take place as she prepares to go into hospice care.
Like most brides-to-be, Sarena is beaming and was perfectly giddy about her centerpieces. “I love oil candles, they’re beautiful elegant,” she said.
And then there were all of the wardrobe choices. “I have these purple shoes — wanted to kinda add a pop of color.”
As for her grand entrance, Sarena hopes to get a certain kind of response from her groom, Tyler Vilandre. “I said, ‘I hope just cry whenever I start walking down the aisle,’ which I think he will. He will. He’s a crier.”
It was in February of 2015 when Sarena was diagnosed with osteosarcoma — pediatric bone cancer. She was able to beat it and Tyler, her sweetheart at Central High School in Keller, was at her hospital bedside every step of the way. “He was there every night,” she recalled. “He didn’t leave — ever.”
When the cancer came back, having spread from her wrist to her lungs, Tyler was there too. This time the news… well, it wasn’t good. Only pausing once to take a breath Sarena said, “We sat down with my doctor and he told me that I actually had anywhere from three to 12 months.”
The diagnosis was a month ago.
The young couple always knew they wanted to get married, so Tyler simply sped things along. He popped the question with the help of glow sticks.
The next thing Sarena knew, “I turned around and he was down on one knee.” Tyler was optimistic. “I wouldn’t say I knew that she was gonna say yes, but I kind of figured she would say yes.”
He was right.
With the big day happening faster than they anticipated, the non-profit Heroes for Children – a group that supports families of children with cancer in Texas — stepped in to make their dream wedding a reality.
Christina Richardson is the Director of Programs with the charity. “Our organization just wants to be there for the families, so that these families know that they’re not alone and have someone who’s thinking about not just a cure, but how they can survive as they’re going through their diagnosis.”
Heroes for Children is helping families of patients, as young as infants, up to 22-years-old, with day-to-day stresses, everything from bills to milestone celebrations. This is their first wedding.
Sarena is delighted and very grateful. “I don’t think I could ever explain how much this means to me and my family,” she said.
On September 17 Sarena and Tyler, both now 21-years-old, will celebrate the kind of love that many don’t find in a lifetime.
As to their future, Sarena is giddy about the possibilities there too. “Miracles happen every day and I think I’m going to be one of those miracles. I just want to grow old with him.”
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