Lindsey Wilkerson and Joel Alsup, two cancer survivors who met as children in hospital, tied the knot last month in a moving ceremony to that marked the next chapter of their love story that spans over two decades.
"I never imagined that my childhood crush and then best friend would ever become my husband," Wilkerson told People magazine. "We've had the blessing of growing up together, finding a deep and loving friendship that led to finding our forever love in each other."
The two first met while they were patients at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Alsup was 7 years old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and had to undergo chemotherapy before having his arm amputated. Wilkerson was 10 years old and battling leukemia.
Recalling his treatment, Alsup said he "felt awkward at first to not have my right arm, but I had asked so many questions beforehand that I was ready to just jump in and do things," according to the hospital's website.
He found comfort and support in Wilkerson.
During their time in the hospital the two became close friends but they lost contact when Alsup went to college in Tennessee and Wilkerson headed off to Arkansas.
However, their paths crossed again when they both started working at a fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude's.
Their friendship immediately took up where it left off, but eventually developed into something more.
"We connected on the complexities of our situations, and how it changed the way we see the world," Wilkerson said, according to The New York Times. "We have this almost sense of urgency about living life, this gratitude, this desire to give back."
Alsup told People that they had always felt something for one another.
"It just took me forever to say something," he said.
Considering their story, it was only appropriate that the couple tied the knot on the St. Jude campus, the place where their relationship began.
"The wedding was amazing!," Alsup said, according to People. "To know that just a few hundred feet from where we said 'I do' was literally where our lives were saved meant so much."
Wilkerson's primary physician at St. Jude performed the ceremonial reading and the St. Jude chaplain served as the officiant.
"It was beautiful and amazing to see the people and think of the events that got us to that day," Alsup said.
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