Luke Blanock, a teenager from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, who has been battling terminal cancer, married his high school sweetheart on Friday night.
According to a GoFundMe page created for Blanock and his family, Luke, a Canon-McMillian High School basketball star, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. The diagnosis came in December of 2013, when he was only 16-years-old after he suddenly lost feeling in both of his legs. Since his diagnosis, Luke has undergone 24 rounds of chemotherapy, over 100 radiation treatments and has had two surgeries.
“You go from being an outstanding athlete to not being able to walk out of the blue, no indication, just blindsided,” Luke’s grandmother, Rosemary Nikas, told WXPI.
Despite having cancer, and all the treatments that came along with it, Luke never gave up on living his life to the fullest.
— Cara Sapida (@WPXICara) February 19, 2016
“Luke didn’t let cancer stop him from enjoying life,” the fundraising site reads. “‘I’m a cancer patient when I have to be and when I’m not I play baseball’ is what Luke told a reporter. And he did play a full season of basketball and baseball last spring for Canon-McMillan while being treated.”
“Sports were the thing that made me feel normal,” Blanock told the Observer Reporter. “Whenever I was able to play, I was going to play. That’s how it was for me with cancer and that’s how it was before I had cancer. Even if I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, which I guess I’ve never been back to 100 percent since I first got sick, at least I played. That’s all that matters.”
Last winter, Luke’s cancer went into remission, and he and his family rejoiced that he had beat the disease. However, in December, 2015, his doctors made a grim discovery — Luke’s cancer had returned and was spreading to other parts of his body, making his cancer now considered terminal.
“Two weeks ago we learned that the cancer has spread and that it is terminal. Luke continues to enjoy life with the support of his family, friends, girlfriend and community,” Luke’s parents Kurt and Jan Blanock shared in an update on their GoFundMe page.
“It was absolutely devastating because you realize the implications of that and they were clear about it,” Kurt Blanock said. “They told him you are not going to get better. They told him that it is terminal and any treatment from this point forward is meant to control pain and prolong life a little bit.”
Realizing that he may not have long to live, Luke decided to do something he had always wanted to do.
The message of Luke Blanock’s speech: wait, hope https://t.co/wnByqzxFk2 pic.twitter.com/iYeIiHBjdD
— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) February 6, 2016
A month after he was told he had terminal cancer, Luke proposed to his girlfriend, Natalie Britvich. The couple wanted to get married as soon as possible, and with the help of the community, they were able to put the entire wedding together in only a month’s time.
“We pulled this whole thing together in a month, which is pretty incredible for a wedding this size,” wedding planner Ashley Cyprowski said.
Luke and Natalie had a packed house during their emotional ceremony that took place on Friday, February 19. According to WPXI, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Luke, who at times couldn’t walk due to his cancer, walked down the aisle to his bride.
“He said, ‘I’m not marrying Natalie to make her a widow. I’m marrying Natalie to spend 50 years with her.’ And that’s great. That’s how it should be,” Nikas said. “You can tell he’s over the moon, very much in love.”
Prior to the ceremony, Luke took to Twitter to share the exciting news. Luke posted a picture of himself and his bride, and captioned it by saying: “Getting married — lol!”
“We thank you for your continued support, even if it’s simply posting a message, sending letters, praying/sending positive vibes or financial support,” Luke’s parents wrote on the fundraising page. “All of these displays of support mean a great deal to our family and help us realize that we are not alone.”
[Photo via Twitter/Luke Blanock]