“She wanted to have a beautiful wedding, and I wanted to give her that,” the groom said.
A 28-year-old Ronda, who is battling cancer. With limited time, all Bivens wanted was to get married to the love of her life, and father of her two young kids – Matt Mager.
Ronda’s best friend, Amanda Dalton, was among those who helped organize the nuptials.
“It was friends calling friends, getting everything together,” said Dalton, who helped get Ronda into a donated wedding dress. “We called the county clerk’s office ― they sent someone out ― and we got a preacher. It happened literally within a couple hours once we got it rolling.”
Ronda’s wedding day, which was also her 28th birthday, came after more than a year of chemotherapy, radiation and the amputation of her right leg, with Matt all the while by her side.
“He is like one of a kind,” said Dalton. “He’s been there nonstop for her since the beginning. He loves her unconditionally. That’s the truth.”
Doctors in February 2016 diagnosed a lump on Ronda’s ankle as epithelioid sarcoma, a rare type of a cancer that affects only 1 in 2.5 million people. Unfortunately, doctors years earlier had misdiagnosed the lump ― first as tendinitis and then as a torn tendon, Matt said.
Ronda’s doctors amputated her leg in May 2016, but by then the cancer had spread to her lungs.
“They told us right off the bat there was no cure,” Matt said. “They said, ‘We can just do what helps.’ But everything they’ve done has just made it worse. It’s financially wrecked us, and I’ve had a front row seat to my best friend dying. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s very emotional.”
Of the most recent diagnosis from the doctor, Matt said, “They told me she had only a few days to live. She wanted to come home, so we’re home now. I hold her hand every day and am trying to focus on the time we have. She’s on a morphine pump to soothe her pain, so she’s in and out of it. But when she comes in, she’s still the same fighter. I can’t even tell you how strong she is.”
The pair have known each other since they were teenagers, it has been a romance for the storybooks. “She’s got the most beautiful eyes ? eyes you can’t get away from,” Matt said.
Matt continued, “She woke up last night and she was so excited about the wedding. We sat there and talked about it for an hour. She asked to see the wedding photos. We looked at them, laughed, cried and held each other.”
This heartwarming story also brings to mind a similar incident that had happened last year when, in The Albany Medical Center in New York, a nurse Matt Hicking married Abby, a four-year-old cancer patient, because that is what the little girl wanted.