Cancer survivor pays it forward by helping another
CENTER CITY - February 9, 2012 (WPVI) -- Even in falling snow, it wasn't an unusual sight: a limousine pulling up at the Art Museum steps, so a bride and groom could have their wedding pictures taken there.
But this was a special photo shoot.
Both the bride, Melinda Muniz, and the photographer, Jerry Tomko, have come back from the brink, after battles with cancer.
"One day, I was living life, and having a good time, taking care of brides and everything like that, and then all of a sudden, they say, 'You have cancer,'" Jerry told Action News. "Two weeks later, I was on the operating table, and they took 80 percent of my stomach out."
Melinda battled leukemia, going through chemotherapy, radiation, and then a bone marrow transplant.
"When I was diagnosed, we decided to get married in the hospital," said Melinda.
The only photos Melinda and new husband, Chris Jones, had from their June wedding were snapshots taken by her nurses.
Then Jerry told his doctors at Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center that he wanted to thank them for saving his life by using his talents to help another cancer patient.
"I wanted to find someone who, because of this disease, either couldn't afford, or didn't have wedding pictures taken," said Jerry.
Melinda and Chris were bowled over by the offer.
"I was like, 'Wow,'" said Melinda. "I didn't even have a wedding dress."
But everything came together.
A florist and a limo company donated their services to give Melinda and Chris perfect remembrances of their love and devotion.
"Every single day in the hospital, he was there," said Melinda.
"I just kept my faith, and I believed all along she was going to be okay. I knew it in my heart. So here we are," said Chris.
Jerry isn't done yet. He told us he wants to do this every year for a Jefferson cancer patient in need.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, cancer, center city, philadelphia museum of art, local/state, katherine scott
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