Laurin Long and Michael Bank of Columbia, S.C., were like any other young couple. They met, fell in love, and decided they were each other’s happily ever after.
But just like every great love story, there was one thing standing in their way. Its name? Cancer.
When Mike and Laurin first met on the dating site plentyoffish.com in 2015, Laurin was in the throes of battling Stage 2 breast cancer. Even though she lost her mother to pancreatic cancer at 17 and her father to colon cancer at 22, she wasn’t about to let it stop her from living life (because she is freaking amazing). She posted a profile picture of herself wearing pink boxing gloves, her head bald due to chemotherapy, and a 1000-watt smile. It was that smile that would attract the attention of Michael Bank.
Laurin tells Sammiches and Psych Meds,
Mike saw this picture on my profile and he loved the pink boxing gloves (he owns a martial arts school). He noticed my big smile so he sent me a message about travel and adventures which are both two things we are very passionate about.
Just a few weeks after meeting, Laurin, then 26-years-old, underwent a double mastectomy. When she emerged from surgery, Michael was waiting for her, ibuprofen and daisies in hand.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Laurin says,
I come home from a double mastectomy, and he’s in my room — can’t wait to give me a hug, can’t wait to kiss me. He was a special guy.
And so began their love story. A love story that would include doctors appointments, radiation, reconstructive surgery and beating cancer. Their love weathered it all and in June 2017, on a trip to Niagara Falls, Michael proposed. They set the date for March 24, 2018, the three year anniversary of the first day they met.
However, cancer wasn’t done with Laurin yet.
In August 2017 it returned with a vengeance, having metastasized to her liver and bones. By December, it had spread to her lungs. The prognosis was grim.
Her doctors urged her to move up the wedding date, afraid she would not live long enough to reach it. Laurin and Michael refused. She tells us,
We were adamant to keep our wedding date because it was 3 years from our first date! We had already sent Save The Dates out. We did not want to rush and plan a wedding.
Laurin goes on to say,
Mike also felt that if we moved our wedding date we would let cancer win.
Just weeks before the wedding, when they should have been making last minute arrangements, Michael was shaving Laurin’s head instead. Even that would not deter her. Cancer may have had its plans, but it seriously underestimated the strength of one kick-ass woman, who was determined to walk down the aisle and dance at her wedding. The power of love would prevail.
On March 24, 2018, at the Tree of Life Congregation in Columbia, Laurin and Michael said “I Do” in sickness and in health.
And they danced.
This love story? It is well on its way to a happy ending. Since the beginning of the year, Laurin has been involved in an aggressive clinical trial. On April 9 the blogger/writer/speaker posted on her polka.dot.queen Facebook page that the clinical trial was working.
I am on cloud freaking 15!! The doctor walked in today and asked how we were? We said good and she said great let me make your day better!!! I knew we were going to get great news!!! Scans results are in……..BOTH of the tumors we have been tracking went DOWN! The rest of the Metastatic spots are too small to measure and they are stable! We were able to start cycle 3 today as well!!
Basically…..THE CLINICAL TRIAL IS WORKING!!!!!!!!
For all of those battling cancer, Laurin has these words to say:
I would tell them to keep moving forward, no matter what happens, to always move forward. Know there will be bad days but there will also be good days and make the best of any day! Always find something good in everyday!
Keep moving forward, Laurin. Keep on fighting. Keep on inspiring. Keep on smiling. The world needs it, and you.