Unbreakable Bond: N.C. couple plans wedding in 2 weeks following cancer diagnosis

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The pandemic put countless weddings on hold, pushing many back to the summer of 2021.

Carene and Cameron Hughes planned to reschedule their April 2020 wedding for this August, until a different health emergency pushed them to plan their wedding in a much shorter time frame.

Planning a wedding is stressful enough on its own, but Carene Hughes put one together with two weeks notice, at the same time the couple was making preparations for a memorial service.

“Most of the vows — you know, the traditional says ‘till death do us part’ and I told her I don’t want that in our wedding at all, it’s not allowed in our wedding,” said Carene.

Her fiance, Cameron Hughes, got a heart-breaking diagnosis last month.

“I found out that I have a tumor on the head of my pancreas, it’s about 2 cm. I also have two lesions on my liver, so it’s metastasized to my liver so I’m technically stage four,” said Cameron Hughes.

Doctors advised them to push the wedding up, and the ceremony they had been planning for late summer quickly took shape before Cam’s first chemo treatment in July.

To make their wedding a reality, the entire community pitched in. A coworker baked their cake, a friend officiated their ceremony, someone on Facebook agreed to photograph the ceremony and strangers even donated decorations.

“It was 4-6 months if we didn’t do anything, if we didn’t do any treatment. Then it was 9 to 12 months with chemo, so that’s just no time at all. It’s less than a year so we just wanted to go ahead and do it now while we have time,” said Carene with tears in her eyes.

“I didn’t want the memories of our wedding to be me rolling down the aisle in a wheelchair or something like that, I wanted it to be a memory she could have, and kids could have, even after I’m gone,” added Cam.

Sunday they exchanged their vows, barefoot in the sand at Fort Fisher as waves crashed in the distance. They were surrounded by family and friends as they promised to love each other through the best, the worst and whatever may come.

“Don’t take life for granted. You know, I’m 51 and I’ve lived a pretty good life. There’s things I want to see that I may not get to see, so live life, be happy, love, one love,” said Cam.

The Hughes and their four children are holding hope that a clinical trial at Duke can make a difference, but they’re taking it one day at a time and making sure however much time they have together, it is well spent.

If you’d like to follow Cam’s Journey, Carene has set up a website for anyone wishing to support Courage4Cam.

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