Laurin Long was battling breast cancer when she met Michael Bank in 2015.
They connected at a time many people wouldn't be able to devote themselves to a commitment. Laurin endured a double mastectomy and chemotherapy and Michael was with her all along the way.
When he dropped to one knee and asked her to "Keep this party going?" in June 2017, Laurin was cancer free.
They set a date, a special one, and began the task of planning a wedding.
But then Laurin began having back pain.
A visit to the doctor confirmed the worst — the 29-year-old's cancer had returned. This time, it was diagnosed in her bones and liver.
Three months of chemotherapy proved unsuccessful, and the cancer spread to her lungs by December.
That was when her doctors told Laurin she should move up her wedding day, fearing the worst.
That wasn't in her plans, however. Laurin and Michael had selected a day of great significance for their wedding, and they weren't going to change it.
They set a date of March 24, the anniversary of their first date. In spite of the doctor's advice, they were going to keep the party going as planned.
"We told them no, we had a special date," Laurin said.
But Laurin was going to need help putting the wedding together. Especially once she learned she had been approved for a clinical trial in North Carolina.
That's when a friend who is a wedding planner stepped up. That's also when the couple got a big assist from In The Middle, a local non-profit organization that financially helps women with breast cancer, something similar to what Make-A-Wish does for terminally ill children.
"I could focus on getting the clinical trial (which started in February) and didn't have to worry about the little details," said Laurin, adding "the doctor said he would work with us to feel my best on the wedding day."
For Laurin, who has endured so much, including the death of both of her parents to cancer before she was 20 years old, it was time for something positive. She got good news on two fronts, she seemed to be responding to the clinical trial and the wedding was a hit.
"The wedding was amazing," Laurin said of the event with 225 guests held at the Tree of Life Synagogue. "It was the best day ever. We had it on our terms, and we love to celebrate."
Possibly the best part of the special day was that Laurin was up for every step, physically. She said she didn't need to rely on a wheelchair at all, even walking down the aisle, on the arm of her brother David.
She was guided to Michael, the man she calls her best friend, soul mate and now husband.
"I know he's going to be there through sickness and in health," Mrs. Laurin Long Bank said of the 34-year-old. "He's my rock."
She was able to dance a lot at the reception, and when she needed to rest, she said she just sat down and "enjoyed atmosphere of joy and celebration. I enjoyed the moment, a lot of people have a hard time doing that."
Not even being bald bothered the bride. She said she had a crown of flowers to wear, that allowed her to feel like she had a veil. More importantly, it was part of the effects that made Laurin feel "gorgeous and confident."
She reports that she has felt good beyond the wedding day. She said the clinical trial is working in several ways. The next big hurdle will be on April 9, the day she will get scans to see how effective the clinical trial has been to this point.
"I'm doing better than I was in December, I have more good days than bad. But it takes two strong people to get through this," Laurin said. "We've been through more in 3 years than most couples go through in 50.
"We can go through this together. It has made us both stronger."