A couple from Utah, USA, finally got to experience a Valentine’s Day cancer-free after first meeting in a hospital as teens.
Ricky Stafford and Alexis Gould were both 15 when they were taken to the Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Gould had neuroblastoma, while Stafford was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014.
Gould recalled the day she met her future husband to KUTV in a report on Saturday, Feb. 15. “[The nurse] was like, ‘Oh, have you met Ricky?’ and I was like, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ I was expecting a little kid to come out, and Ricky walked out, and I was like, ‘Oh, he’s cute.’”
The two became friends as they underwent treatment. Stafford said of his impression of her: “She was bald, but she was beautiful. She’s just beautiful and had a really nice spirit about her.”
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When Stafford left the hospital, he went on a Latter-Day Saints mission in Boston and realized he wanted to marry her. However, his cancer returned and he was taken to New York for treatment.
Gould rushed to see him as a surprise. “Once I got there and hugged him, I knew that he was mine,” she said.
Stafford would propose to her in 2018 while he still had cancer. They married in 2019 even if some had cast doubt on the decision.
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“Life’s too short to wait. I mean, if you know that you’re supposed to be together, I don’t see the point in waiting,” Gould reasoned.
“There were a lot of people that asked me, ‘What if he dies?’ I always said, ‘Well, what if he doesn’t?’ You always try to look at the positive and never really focus on the what-ifs.”
The couple is now based in Virginia to attend college. Finally last January, Stafford got his last chemotherapy treatment and is cancer-free.
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Stafford reflected on their first cancer-free Valentine’s Day, stating, “I think my perspective about what Valentine’s Day stands for has changed over the years. We celebrate being alive, we celebrate having each other.”
A star basketball player in high school, Stafford is playing again in college, Gould’s mother, Emily, said on Facebook in October. Meanwhile, Gould remains strong fighting tumors in her liver, which have so far been benign. Niña V. Guno /ra