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When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you hope your forever lasts more than two weeks. In August 2017, Deanna Delmonaco and her groom, Grayson Pedro proclaimed their undying love for each other in front of family and friends. What was on that day a beautiful fairy-tale wedding, turned into a tragic loss.
When Deanna was still a 13 year old girl from New Haven, Connecticut, she loved with her whole heart only two things; sunflowers and Disney World. This ray of sunshine adopted the Disney World’s fairy-tale outlook on life, that everything will work out in the end. If only this were true perhaps she wouldn’t have received the devastating diagnosis she got one week into eighth grade.
Deanna was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. What was even more devastating is that six months before this, Deanna’s dad had been fighting a terminal lung cancer which thankfully, he overcame. Deanna however, was in for a long fight with her cancer. After her initial diagnosis she underwent surgery and replaced her cancerous bone, this successful surgery declared her cancer-free, but this was not the end …
Nine months after she had been declared cancer free, cancer was found in her lungs and she had to go through more than she ever had before. She had more than a medical team to help her get back to health, her family started a GoFundMe page to help with the finances, friends showered her with messages of support on Facebook. Deanna had a community behind her.
Deanna had many relapses even though she went through intensive chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries. For some people this would mean your life is put on hold, but not Deanna, she attended high school, passed all her grades, worked a part-time job at a clothing chain and went on to study at the University of New Haven.
Deanna lived a normal life, so normal that she was able to add a third love to her list of favorites which included sunflowers and Disney World. This third loves name was Grayson Pedro. They shared a love for Disney movies and Disney theme parks. Their love was straight out of a Disney fairy-tale, one that soon came to an end…
In June 2017, doctors told the couple that she had very little time to live because the cancer that she had been fighting for the past eight years was now terminal. Who would have thought that the now 21-year old adult who was once declared cancer free would be handed a death sentence just as she met the love of her life?
Grayson decided that he could not let the love of his life go without making her his wife first. So, he proposed so that they could be married for as long as possible while Deanna was still alive. Perhaps it was their shared love for Disney movies that made Grayson plot-twist the devastating news his girlfriend received.
Deanna never left her Facebook friends who were constantly supporting her out of the loop. To celebrate her news, she posted this “We’ve been through hell and back, but Grayson and I have stayed through it strong. Last night he solidified that our future would be forever and proposed. He is my happily ever after.”
Her family, who has supported her throughout her cancer journey, jumped on the wedding bandwagon and planned her bridal shower, bachelorette party and gave her the wedding of her dreams. For the first time in a while, things were falling into place seamlessly and her prince charming had delivered her happily ever after.
On the couples day, 26 August 2017, a crowd of family and friends gathered to witness a beautiful union based on an undying love in the face of adversity between two beings with beautiful souls. Deanna made her way down the isle in a wheelchair covered in bows with Grayson pushing her. She was wearing a dress white as snow and long, beautiful crimson hair.
The minister sealed their union with words that were tailor fit for them. He said “today we are here to celebrate love and life, soulmates that have displayed the true meaning of love, devotion and strength”. He incorporated Disney quotes throughout like asking “can you feel the love tonight?”, referencing the Disney movie ‘The Lion King’. The bride and groom were having the time of their life.
Deanna and Grayson’s wedding was a magical day filled with multi-tiered cake, heartfelt speeches and a newly-wed spirit that made them smash cake in each other’s faces. Everything they had gone through led to this day and it was worth every hand-hold and tear. However, their fairy tale wedding turned into a two week marriage which came to a tragic end …
On 11 September 2017 Deanna’s mom shared the devastating news on Facebook that her daughter had passed away. She wrote “our hearts are broken into a million pieces and will never be the same again”. Her mom went on to commemorate Deanna’s kindness and optimism and encouraged all those who knew Deanna to pay forward what her life taught them.
As loved ones grieve the loss of Deanna, a flower image with her name on it followed by the words “I made a difference” is circulating around Facebook. Deanna was and will always be an inspiration to us all, reminding us that there is always a silver-lining in the clouds.