newly engaged michigan couple diagnosed with cancer 8 days apart, moves up wedding

Newly Engaged Michigan Couple Diagnosed With Cancer 8 Days Apart, Moves Up Wedding

Newly engaged couple Clay Slenk and Mariah Nelesen aren’t letting cancer get in the way of their big day.

But after sending out the save-the-dates to their loved ones, the bride- and groom-to-be were both diagnosed with cancer within eight days of each other. And now they’re getting married on April 9.

newly engaged michigan couple diagnosed with cancer 8 days apart, moves up wedding
Image via Caring Bridge

“We had a long engagement (and) were hoping to get married June 10 of this year,” Slenk, 24, told the outlet.

However, the couple’s lives both dramatically changed after two life-altering phone calls in January.

Nelesen, 23, shared with KTLA, “I got a phone call Jan. 11th of this year that I had ovarian cancer. That’s not a call that anyone expects to receive.”

A week later, Slenk received a similar call. “All of a sudden, I got a phone call at like 8 o’clock, and my doctor was like, ‘I want you to go to Spectrum right now. I think you have Leukemia.’ “

newly engaged michigan couple diagnosed with cancer 8 days apart, moves up wedding
Image via Caring Bridge

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A post on the couple’s Caring Bridge page revealed that he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, which “required immediate treatment and is being followed by a long hospital stay.”

It also added that Nelesen was diagnosed with adult granulosa cell tumor ovarian cancer, “a low-grade cancer that requires treatment including both surgery and chemotherapy.”

As Slenk was treated in a local hospital for more than 40 days, Nelesen took steps to freeze her eggs.

“Now, we’re into it deep,” Slenk told the news outlet. “And it’s not just one person, it’s both of us.”

newly engaged michigan couple diagnosed with cancer 8 days apart, moves up wedding
Image via Caring Bridge

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“Why be angry? If I’m angry and frustrated and down and negative, all it’s going to do is make this day that much worse,” Slenk continued. He went on to reveal that it was an upcoming stem cell transplant that led to the two adjusting their wedding date.

“We moved up our wedding date so we could be married during that time. So she would be here to take care of me and we could go through that hard part together,” he shared. Nelesen said their diagnosis helped them both focus on the bigger picture.

“I was caught up in planning and excited for all the little details, like the venue we were going to be at and the food that we were going to have,” she said. “(Now), replanning the wedding, I’ve just thrown all of that out the window. It’s going to be a special day no matter what and we’re going to have burgers and brats on the grill.”

“It won’t be easy going forward, but we know that it’ll be more meaningful to go through it together,” Slenk shared. “There’ll be a little more sickness before the health, but that’s alright.”

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