Luke Blanock, 18, recently married his teen love Natalie Britvich in front of 200 witnesses. Despite the beautiful occasion, the union was marred by a tragic note: Blanock has terminal cancer. But that didn’t stop an entire community from giving the couple this special moment, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for all that took part.
Blanock was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma in December of 2013. The cancer, which has spread according to his Go Fund Me page created by his parents, has been treated with a course of 14 rounds of chemotherapy followed by 31 radiation treatments. Unfortunately, the cancer growth is now considered terminal in spite of the extensive medical response.
When Blanock announced his plans to wed, the entire community was eager to take part. In fact, for the most part, the wedding was put on by residents of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Residents donated almost everything used in the ceremony in a true gesture of kindness and compassion.
The pair were wed in St. Mary’s Church in the Pennsylvania town of Cecil. The bride wore white, and they celebrated surrounded by a tasteful candlelit display in the reception, held in a canopy tent for a crowd of 200 thrilled participants.
Blanock’s uncle, Patrick Goode, described the ceremony hopefully, saying, “It was very happy, very high energy. Luke was healthy enough to walk down the aisle by himself, without his crutches. It was really beautiful.”
It said a lot for Blanock’s strength. He has been unable to walk throughout certain points of his treatment. Among the occasion’s beautiful visuals, the young groom happily danced with his new bride under a canopy of white.
Blanock’s grandmother, Rosemary Nikas, was proud to see her grandson so happy. She cheerfully told a local news station during an interview that, “He’s over the moon. He’s very much in love.”
“We met probably in seventh grade,” said Blanock in his recently released wedding video, doting on his loving bride as a country song plays while their story unfolds.
It’s a tale to which many young couples can relate: boy meets girl in a class, boy and girl fall in love. Blanock gushed to Twitter shortly after the ceremony, sharing the joyous moment by tweeting a message that encapsulates the excitement of the moment in a shared photo with a joyous caption of, “Getting married – lol!”
Blanock, a former high school athlete who played both baseball and basketball, is well known throughout the community. No wonder it was this community that took him under their wing to give him the best wedding it could.
“We got a ton of donations,” Blanock’s wedding planner, Ashley Cyprowski, told ABC News. “The flowers, the reception hall itself, just a lot of people came together from our local community and donated their time, their services, and their goods.”
After the Blanock’s costly battle with cancer, the outpouring of help was much appreciated.
“With all their medical expenses they don’t have a lot to spend on something like this,” Cyprowski added. “I’ve never seen the family as happy as they were that day. Luke was so high energy, he was just glowing.”
While it seems like the couple shared an occasion that was almost certainly bittersweet, many were touched by the occasion and the support it spurred. Nikas said the positivity was palpable.
“[Blanock] said, ‘I’m not marrying Natalie to make her a widow,'” she noted. “‘I’m marrying Natalie to spend 50 years with her.’ And that’s great. That’s how it should be.”
It’s certainly makes for a beautiful image—hopeful and optimistic. And to paraphrase one happy family member, it’s the way love should be.