When faced with a devastating diagnosis, Zach Stroup believes you should never stop fighting.
Zach is just 26 years old, but he has already beat cancer not once, but twice! Throughout his years-long battle, the woman who would become his bride stuck by his side through thick and thin, giving him a reason to keep going. Even when his future looked bleak, Madison was determined to marry the man she calls her best friend.
Zach was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in November 2020. He went through six rounds of chemotherapy before achieving remission in May 2021. With his cancer behind them, Madison and Zach started planning for their future, starting with a big wedding for all of their friends and family to celebrate everything they’d overcome together.
Unfortunately, Zach’s cancer wasn’t through with him yet. One day, he woke up and was paralyzed from the chest down. His cancer had returned, and this time it was in his spinal cord.
“So it was pretty much like the worst prognosis possible,” said Madison.
“It was gut wrenching,” Madison recalled. “We were trying to start our lives together and it felt like everything got taken out from underneath us.”
For the next year, instead of picking party favors and obsessing over bridesmaid’s dresses, Madison served as her fiancé’s full time nurse and companion.
“What she’s had to do to, you know, keep me alive, whether it’s the sleepless nights that she’s had to do and driving up and back and back and forth to the hospital constantly and taking all the financial stress of everything, it’s really amazing how much she’s been able to do,” said Zach. “And it really shows how much she does love me.”
Zach went through eight more rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and rehabilitation, only to find out that the chemo was no longer working. Now, faced with the worst case scenario, the couple had a big decision to make. Instead of giving up and throwing in the towel, they decided to get married ahead of schedule, right there in the oncology ward!
“Zach and I just kind of looked at each other, and we’re like, you know, from my perspective, I didn’t want to have any regrets,” said Madison. “I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to marry my best friend.”
They planned their in-hospital wedding in less than 48 hours. On the big day, they were surrounded by supportive staff members, Zach’s doctors and nurses, and the other cancer patients and their families.
After the couple said “I do,” they felt ready to face whatever curveballs life could throw at them next. What they never expected, however, was for Zach to make a complete recovery!
Last spring, Zach underwent a bone marrow transplant that was successful in treating his cancer. He’s now in remission once again, and his future has never looked brighter.
Zach is finally back at home and beginning his healing journey!
“We are still processing everything that has taken place in these last 9 months,” Madison reflected on Facebook. “But Zach had his MRI and we got results today that there is no evidence of disease and that the transplant was successful! YAY! God showed all of us a true miracle not only once but twice! Our faith was the only thing we had left and we never stopped trusting. Zach is a warrior and I can’t wait to continue to watch him heal and get healthier.”
Zach and Madison were even able to take their honeymoon trip! Their love story is truly inspiring, and we wish them all the best in the future.
Share this story to celebrate true love and healing against all odds.
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