Bride with Stage 4 Cancer Lives to See Wedding Day After Doctors Urged Her to Move Up Ceremony
Laurin Bank took a chance to keep her wedding on a meaningful date.
This story originally appeared on People.com by Char Adams.
In September, doctors urged 29-year-old Laurin Bank to move up her wedding date, fearing that the cancer patient wouldn't live to see March 24. She said "no."
"This date was special to us," Bank says of herself and her now-husband Michael. "We felt like moving that date was giving up and giving in to the cancer and letting it run our lives. We didn't want to give in. That was our goal … and I was able to walk down the aisle to my husband. I was able to dance with him and I didn't need a wheelchair or oxygen. I did it I made it." (Related: How Surviving a Rare Form of Cancer Made Me a Better Runner)
Bank, of Columbia, South Carolina, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in September 2014. She underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy before being declared cancer-free in April 2015.
"When I learned I was cancer free I felt ecstatic," she tells PEOPLE. "I felt free and that I had gotten my life back. And I was more ready than ever to live my life."
However, her health took a turn in August 2017 when doctors told Bank her cancer had returned as stage four, and had metastatized to her bones, liver, and lungs.
"It's not news I wanted to hear," she tells PEOPLE. "I looked at my oncologist and said, ‘quality over quantity. That's my goal. And if there's treatment, I want to do it.' I was ready to fight. I fought once and I knew I could fight again. Being stage four is scary but I'm young, so I have a lot of fight in me."
Bank began treatment as part of a clinical trial and her health began to improve. But, in September, doctors gave her a fierce warning.
"The oncologist said waiting six more months to get married would be risky. She said she wasn't sure whether I'd need a wheelchair to get me down the aisle. She said it would be best for us to move up our wedding date. The doctor also said with my lungs not being so strong, I might need oxygen for my wedding day."
However, she says she and Michael picked March 24 because it's the anniversary of their first date three years ago.
"Mike looked at me and said, ‘Don't you dare worry. It's going to be okay,' " says Bank, who chronicles her health journey on her personal blog, The Polka Dot Queen. "We didn't want to give in to the cancer. We wanted to have [our wedding] on our terms."
And they did. On March 24, a smiling Bank walked down the aisle, wed Michael and danced energetically in front of 230 of her closest family and friends.
"I danced until the last song of the night," she says. "The wedding day was the best day ever. I was so shocked that I made it! I felt good and I felt strong. It was an emotional morning. As I walked down the aisle to him, I was just bursting with joy and happiness because I was so excited to marry him."
Now, Bank says her health is improving and she's continuing her treatment. She says she and Michael are looking forward to their trip to Italy in September, as they haven't been able to fly overseas for their honeymoon as a result of Bank's illness.
"Our goal is to go on our dream honeymoon like we originally planned," she says. "Until then we're planning a bunch of mini trips to celebrate and enjoy."
Michael adds: "I made the decision that I want to be there for her and support her 100 percent. I'm going to support her through this fight."