Valley woman's dying wish to get married
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As a South Valley woman comes to grips with her terminal cancer diagnosis, her family is scrambling to throw her a dream wedding before it's too late.
The 27-year-old mother of four is suffering from an aggressive form of leukemia. On Christmas Eve, doctors told her she has just three to six months to live. But, not long after the bad news was delivered her boyfriend proposed.
Susanna Espinoza does not have health insurance and with such a grim prognosis she wants her family to save their money for her funeral.
But she's hoping for community support so she can have one more big day before she loses her three year battle with cancer.
Most couples think of marriage as growing old together, but Susanna Espinoza and her fiancée, Brandon Martinez, just hope cancer doesn't take away their brief chance at marriage.
"He's staying by my side through this all and I love him for that," Susanna Espinoza.
"I'm never going to give up on her, ever. I'll be here with her 'til the end," said Brandon Martinez, Espinoza's fiancée.
Susanna is now in the end stages of cancer. She was first diagnosed in 2009. She said doctors told her the chemo therapy she received three times before is just too much for her body to handle.
She's in the hospital now for a blood transfusion. That's the only treatment keeping her alive. "I don't want to die, but there's nothing left that doctors can do anymore," Espinoza said.
"It hurts knowing I'm losing someone I love," Martinez said. "But at the same time I'm happy that I get to marry her."
So with just a short time left Susanna's family is rushing to help her and Brandon get married.
Family friends have been meeting to organize what they're calling a 'community wedding.' They're even handing out flyers around Lemoore and Hanford explaining Susanna's fight against cancer. So far, people have donated a few things, like wedding favors and a photographer.
"We're working on trying to get a hall," said Tracy Meras. "We haven't got any answers back. She does not have a wedding gown or vail, rings, food."
"With the short time she's got, she could leave us tomorrow, next week," Oscar Espinoza, Susanna's uncle, said. "We're hoping it's longer than 6 months, we don't know. That's why we're doing this so quickly."
Susanna knows throwing a wedding by January 14th is a big task. She just hopes her loved ones get to see her big day. "That's how I want everybody to see me, in my happy day," she said.
Susanna and Brandon were only friends before she had cancer. They've only been dating for the past year.
As for the wedding donations, the family says they're not even asking for anything new. They just want to have a ceremony.
And Susanna said instead of gifts, she's hoping people can donate money to cover funeral expenses.
local, rick montanez
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