When confronted with a bad diagnosis, Zach Stroup thinks you should never give up.
Zach is only 26 years old, yet he has already beaten cancer twice! Throughout his years-long battle, the lady who would become his bride remained by his side through thick and thin, giving him motivation to keep fighting. Madison was determined to marry the man she calls her best friend, even as his future seemed grim.
In November 2020, Zach was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He had six rounds of chemotherapy before going into remission in May 2021. With his cancer behind them, Madison and Zach began to plan their future, beginning with a large wedding for all of their friends and family to commemorate everything they’d endured together.
Unfortunately, Zach’s cancer was not yet finished with him. He awoke one day paralyzed from the chest down. His cancer had resurfaced, this time in his spinal cord.
“So that was pretty much the worst prognosis conceivable,” Madison explained.
“It was heartbreaking,” Madison recounted. “We were just starting our lives together, and it felt like everything was pulled out from under us.”
Instead of selecting out party gifts and worrying about bridesmaid outfits, Madison became her fiancé’s full-time caregiver and companion for the next year.
“It’s truly incredible how much she’s been able to do to keep me alive, whether it’s the sleepless nights and going up and back and back and back and forth to the hospital continuously and bearing all the financial load of everything,” Zach added. “And it demonstrates how much she adores me.”
Zach had eight more rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and rehabilitation only to discover that the treatment was no longer effective. When confronted with the worst-case situation, the couple was forced to make a difficult decision. Rather of giving up and throwing down the towel, they chose to marry ahead of schedule, right in the cancer ward!
“Zach and I just sort of looked at one other and said, you know, from my standpoint, I didn’t want any regrets,” Madison explained. “I didn’t want to pass up the chance to marry my closest buddy.”
They had fewer than 48 hours to prepare their in-hospital wedding. They were surrounded by supportive staff members, Zach’s physicians and nurses, and other cancer patients and their families on the momentous day.
After saying “I do,” the pair felt ready to tackle whatever life threw at them next. What they didn’t anticipate was for Zach to make a full recovery!
Zach had a bone marrow transplant last spring, which successfully treated his cancer. He’s currently in remission, and his future seems brighter than ever.
Zach has returned home and is starting his healing process!
“We’re still digesting everything that’s happened in the previous 9 months,” Madison said on Facebook. “But Zach had his MRI, and we found no indication of illness and that the transplant was effective!” YAY! God performed a great miracle for all of us not once, but twice! Our religion was the only thing we had left, and we never gave up hope. Zach is a fighter, and I can’t wait to see him recover and improve.”
Zach and Madison even got to go on their honeymoon! Their love story is extremely inspirational, and we wish them the best of luck in the future.