Back in July 2017, 25-year-old Jillian Hanson of New Jersey was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She was concerned that her journey would be a burden on her boy friend Max Allegretti, who is the same age as her.
Jillian assured Max that it was totally understandable if he decided not to stay by her side while she was ill.
However, instead of taking an easy way out that Jillian offered, Max supported his girlfriend throughout her two-year treatment.
Four months later, when Jillian started chemotherapy in Middletown, New Jersey, Max left everything behind to be there for her.
Max said he tried to “normalize the situation” by setting up movie dates and other activities they could do together when she felt up to it.
In just five months, Jillian received 16 rounds of chemotherapy. She recalled Max “took care of me every day and reminded me how beautiful I was — even as my hair thinned and fell out, and my skin turned white as a ghost”.
On February 28, 2018, the last day of Jillian’s chemotherapy, Max popped the question to her.
Jillian thought that she was shooting photos to celebrate her final day of chemo when Max got down on one knee and presented her with a ring.
She could hardly speak because she was so startled. Everyone in the room applauded when she eventually replied “Yes.”
“I was thinking about it for a long time,” Max explained. “I spoke with her family and friends, and we all decided it would bring a lot more joy even to the special day it was going to be already.”
She still had to go through more therapies and treatments even though her chemotherapy was over. Planning a wedding was obviously the last thing on her mind.
Later in the year, Lauren Grench, a wedding planner, heard about their story and decided to surprise the couple with the gift of a lifetime.
Grech and her team not only offered the duo her full wedding planning services for free, but also secured complimentary services from a number of wedding vendors.
One year and a half later, the couple exchanged vows in front of their loved ones in October 2019.
They had a lovely outdoor wedding. Most brides are overjoyed, but Jillian was absolutely thrilled. She knew she was marrying a man who would stop at nothing to make her happy.
Jillian said “It’s been such a long and painful road, and there have been so many people there for us. [This wedding] is celebrating everything — marriage, life, love, everything”.