PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) — A Florida teen who doctors say is dying from a rare form of cancer has been granted one of his final wishes, to be married to his high school sweetheart.
The Tampa Bay Times reports 19-year-old Dustin Snyder and 21-year-old Sierra Siverio were wed Sunday in Plant City, near Tampa.
“After her being there with me through this cancer, always supporting me and loving me, that’s when I knew she was the one,” Snyder said. “I wanted to give her something back before my time was up.”
Doctors say Snyder has weeks or maybe a month to live. Wasting no time, Snyder proposed to Siverio on Thursday. The newspaper reports the community quickly came together to make sure the wedding took place, donating everything from the rings to the wedding gown and the venue.
The two say they’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from strangers.
Snyder’s sister, Brittany Hails, posted her brother’s story on Facebook and started a GoFundMe page, which had raised nearly $13,000 by Friday. An update said they had met their goal and leftover donations would help the family with other expenses.
“I didn’t think it would go this far, but God was on our side,” Hails said. “Dustin’s really excited, and all we wanted is for him to be happy. And he’s happy right now.”
The teens met in middle school, but had lost touch before reuniting in high school. Snyder has battled synovial sarcoma much of that time.
On June 27, 2016, the day before his 18th birthday, Snyder went to the hospital with chest pains, which his mother thought were brought on by asthma. But doctors quickly diagnosed the teen with synovial sarcoma, which targets soft tissue and is more common among adolescents and young adults than other age groups who contract it.
“When I first found out I was devastated, but then he told me I needed to be strong for him,” Siverio said. “Ever since he said that I’ve been by his side.”