She had dreamed of her wedding day since forever, and due to some life struggles, she never thought that the day would come. But suddenly, everything was going right for a change, and she was so happy about that. She realized she had found the man she was going to share her life with. But, as the wedding date got closer, she got a phone call that would shatter that dream.
When Laurin Long met Michael Bank, her life was changed forever. The couple found each other on Plenty Of Fish, which is an online dating site. Michael was enamored by Laurin’s smile on her profile photo and decided to contact her. They messaged each other the entire day with flirtatious messages before they got on the phone and started to talk for several hours. Then they decided that there was no reason why they shouldn’t meet in person.
Laurin and Michael met the next day over a hot drink at a local coffee shop. The date wasn’t fancy, but the chemistry between them was instant and undeniable. So, they continued to see each other a couple of weeks until they knew all there was to know about one another. That’s when Laurin came to the conclusion that Michael was amazing. Even after he learned about her issues, he continued to see her. It seemed like taking the next step was the only other viable choice.
Laurin and Michael became exclusive after their first date. Time went by fast as the couple continued to see each other over the next few years. The two particularly enjoyed traveling together. They would leave South Carolina, which was their home state, to travel to Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. They also went to more exotic places like Cancun and the Bahamas. Then, they decided to visit Niagara Falls. But this trip was going to be special.
Niagara Falls is known for being a romantic venue, so Michael decided that this was where he was going to give Laurin a big surprise. As they stood over the waterfall, admiring the incredible force of nature, Laurin was left speechless as Michael got on one knee. Then he asked her: “Can we keep this party going?” She immediately said yes. But the couple didn’t realize that in a few short months, their fairy tale would turn sour.
Laurin and Michael’s family and friends were delighted when the couple announced that they were engaged. The wedding date was set for March 24, 2018, which was exactly three years after their first date at the coffee shop. The wedding planning was underway, but in August 2017, Laurin and Michael received some news that sabotaged their plans as Laurin was once again confronted with a past she wanted to leave behind.
When Laurin and Michael met for the first time, she had Stage 2 breast cancer, and was undergoing treatment for it. In fact, their first couple of dates involved him taking her to the doctor, to surgeries, and chemo sessions. Everything seemed fine when all of her tests showed that she was cancer-free in 2015. This meant they could start thinking about their future, or so they assumed.
Laurin was contacted by her oncologist while she was planning a wedding in August 2017. The abnormal results from a routine test had worried her physician, so more tests were conducted, which confirmed her cancer had returned. But to make matters worse, it was Stage 4 and had metastasized to her liver and bones. Laurin would need to undergo chemotherapy again, and her odds weren’t very good. But she wasn’t worried because she had someone special in her life.
On the day that he got her diagnosis, Laurin recalled what Michael said to her: “Mike looked at me and said, ‘Don’t you dare worry. It’s going to be okay,’” This gave her the strength she needed to try and beat cancer once again. She was ready to start chemo immediately, and always kept her wedding day in mind. But her cancer was relentless, and things started to look really bad.
Laurin’s health deteriorated months later as the cancer reached her lungs. That’s when Laurin took her chances with a clinical trial. But her doctors suggested she move her wedding date up because they weren’t optimistic about her odds. They were concerned that she would be in a wheelchair using an oxygen tank just to get through the ceremony in March, but that was assuming she survived. Uncertain, Laurin asked the person she loved for guidance.
Laurin recalls: “For Mike, it felt like we would be giving in to cancer. We wanted to have [our wedding] on our terms.” So, they decided to go ahead and proceed with the wedding just like they had planned all along. And on March 24, Laurin walked down the aisle with her brother’s help, and she got married to Michael in an interfaith service, which a rabbi friend officiated. When it was all set and done, she was shocked that she did it, bald headed and all.
“I danced until the last song of the night,” said Laurin. “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.” With their perfect wedding out of the way, it was time to focus on Laurin’s well-being.
The clinical trial was working and Laurin’s health improved, but she was still weak and the couple didn’t want to risk going on their honeymoon. Instead, they opted for a couple of short domestic vacations until they could fly to Italy in September for Laurin’s 30th birthday. That goal might not seem realistic, but the couple is hopeful this will happen.
Laurin recently went on her Facebook page to share some news: “Scans results are in… BOTH of the tumors we have been tracking went DOWN! The rest of the metastatic spots are too small to measure and they are stable! We were able to start cycle 3 today as well! Basically… THE CLINICAL TRIAL IS WORKING!” While her health issues aren’t over, she’s certain that there’s one person who will always be there.
When you know someone with stage 4 cancer, you have to prepare for the worse. But Michael is a real trooper and is ready to take on that challenge. “I made the decision that I want to be there for her and support her 100 percent,” he said. “I’m going to support her through this fight.”