Former Indiana high school swimmer Chase Smith is suffering from cancer and was only given several months to live. In celebration of love and life, he married his girlfriend, Sadie Mills, last month after planning the wedding just days before.
Chase and Sadie, both 18, were married in her parents' driveway. The same spot that Chase parked his car to pick her up for their first date, writes Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the Indy Star. It was also the spot where they had their first kiss.
He welled up with tears when he saw Sadie approach him in her wedding dress. They had reportedly planned the ceremony together over long talks late at night.
The once nationally ranked swimmer was diagnosed with cancer when he was 12 years old and had been able to manage the disease ever since. Back in March, however, his tumors returned and began attacking his shoulder, lung, back, and hip, The Star reported.
By April 24, he was experiencing excruciating pain in his left eye and his temples, and more tumors were found inside his skull. He was only given three to five months to live.
The wedding was organized in only four days, following Chase's diagnosis. The couple took the opportunity to express their love for each other but also, to express their faith in God.
Each morning when they woke up, they pray next to each other, according to The Star. And every night before they went to sleep, they hold hands and pray once more. They also attended church regularly.
"We, every day, pray for a miracle together because we trust in God," Sadie told The Star. "We pray that Chase would stay on this earth longer so we can bring more people our story of love."
Sadie, who is also a swimmer and will be going to college for diving, began seeing Chase during their senior swim season about six months ago.
"I saw her before the meet. I thought she was pretty cute," said Chase. He called her over to talk, got her phone number, and they began texting the following day.
"We haven't been without each other more than maybe like a day or two since our first date," he added.
Sadie was so impressed by his maturity and his faith that she fell in love with him almost immediately.
"He was so sweet. He's very polite. He's a good Christian boy," she said. "We just fell in love with each other's personalities. Now, he is all that matters to me."
Chase's mom, Kelli Smith, said, "This is like a Hallmark love story. A Nicholas Sparks love story. You just don't see love like this."
They referred to the moment they decided to get married as "a God moment," where they both experienced the same feelings at the same time.
The Smiths invited the Mills over for dinner, and the two families listened to Chase, as he discussed the couple's plans.
"I told them how much Sadie had changed my life and how much I loved her, how special she had been to me, the simple fact that there is nobody I've been able to open up about my personal life and cancer journey like I'm able to with her," Chase said. "She is able to calm me down in a lot of scenarios when nobody else can."
Everyone in the room began to cry before offering their blessings.
"The most important thing in my world at this point is spending time loving and laughing," Chase explained. "Just living life to the fullest and loving every moment."
He added, "The precious people in your life, the amount of time they are in your life, take every moment you have. Enjoy and give everything you can in those relationships. And know there is so much possible with love when your love includes God."
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Chase continue his fight against cancer, with the hashtag #chasestrong. It has raised over $98,000 with a goal of $150,000.