What a tale of an all-encompassing love that is somewhat Romeo & Juliet-esque in that it will also be so short-lived – a tale of True Love shared with you on this Valentine’s Day.
For the past year and a half, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder has been battling a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma — undergoing treatments to remove the tumors, only to watch them return and ravage his body.
One day before Dustin’s 18th birthday, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Doctors discovered the cancer in his left lung, which is rare.
Synovial sarcoma is a slow-growing cancer that typically attacks the soft tissues near large joints and, in some cases, is initially misdiagnosed as arthritis or bursitis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sometimes, however, it can develop in the kidneys and lungs.
“The goal is to remove the cancer and a margin of healthy tissue around it,” according to the clinic. “This can sometimes mean the removal of an entire muscle or muscle group, or even amputation.”
Snyder’s mother said he underwent chemotherapy and radiation “hoping to save the lung.” But several months later, doctors had to remove it.
While this is a lovely video showing a bit about Dustin & Sierra’s lives together leading up to the wedding, it also shows how devastating cancer can be in just 18 months
Sierra Siverio, his high school sweetheart, never left his side. After 6 grueling months of chemotherapy, Dustin was declared cancer-free in January 2017. The family, and especially Sierra, rejoiced.
Unfortunately it didn’t last. Dustin’s mom took him to the doctor after he started experiencing extreme pain and unexplained weight loss. They learned that the cancer was back, and this time it had infested his stomach and pelvic area. This time Dustin’s cancer was terminal.
Dustin’s doctors told him he had only weeks to live, so he turned to the person who has been beside him through it all — and asked her to spend the rest of that time with him.
“I love her. She’s been there for me through this whole process,” Snyder said about his childhood sweetheart, Sierra Siverio.
The couple married on 28 January, 2018 at The Big Red Barn Venue in Oak Hill, Florida, a farmers market with a private venue not far from home, and danced their first dance as husband and wife to Ed Sheehan’s hit “Perfect” as their closest friends and family looked on.
“I wouldn’t want to be standing here with anyone else,” Snyder told his bride during the wedding ceremony, “because you are the love of my life.”
Snyder’s mother, Cassandra Fondahn, said the couple privately discussed the idea of marriage — a milestone that she hoped would make her son’s final days memorable. He has been at home, with regular visits from hospice, and a pain-medication pump connected to his heart, she said.
“He’s getting worse,” his mother said, explaining that his hospice team keeps having to increase his pain medications. “He’s getting weaker and tireder.”
“He got a small burst of energy since this whole wedding thing came about,” his mother added. “We’re really hoping that Sunday gets pulled off for him.”
“As a mom, I want him to be happy during his final days — whatever that is that makes him happy,” Fondahn said of this weekend’s wedding. “I don’t think this will change anything dramatically for either one of them; it’s just going to make both of them happy. And that’s what it’s all about.
“She’s going to get the wedding of her dreams to the man she loves, and he’s going to be at peace knowing he has his soul mate with him when he goes.”
Sierra and Dustin will be well-loved for however much time they have left together. And though, barring a miracle, their marriage will be short, they are a beautiful example of what it means to be loyal to the end.