Leana & Steven have lived through “in sickness and in health.” Read their story and why they are doing a “virtual” vow renewal leading up to our One Million Strong kickoff in NYC!


I met my husband, Steven, when I was in Junior High School. A mutual friend introduced us. Before you knew it we were “going together.” Who would of ever thought that we would get married when I was 18. That was 32 years ago this March. I like to say we have had time to “mold” each other into the person we wanted. Well there was no molding for the life changing diagnosis of colon cancer. After 18 years of marriage and 3 kids I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 36 in May 2000. I guess it wasn’t really a big surprise being that my dad had colon cancer twice, at the age of 42 and again 52. At his diagnosis we were encouraged to get colonoscopies, which we did, but were never encouraged to get genetic testing. In 2004 I had that genetic testing on my tumor and was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, also known as Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer, or HNPCC. One of our three children also has Lynch Syndrome and is screened annually. He’s 21.
My cancer journey consisted of surgery and 6 months of chemo. I’m now considered a semi-colon. After the first round of chemo I was hospitalized with side effects to the chemo. This was more of a life-threatening situation than the surgery itself. I literally thought I would die. The next month treatment was reduced and I tolerated the next 5 months without much distress.
Until you actually face a life-threatening diagnosis you can’t really understand the phrase” live each day as if it’s your last!” Our lives have changed dramatically since then, for the better. My husband has always been there for me and strives to make my life the best possible. I’ve been NED (no evidence of disease) for nearly 14 years and can say each day has been lived to the fullest.
Leanna-and-StevenMy husband is the love of my life, my rock, my foundation, as well as my brain at times, when I don’t know what direction to take with my health. I don’t know what I’d do without him in my life.  He knows me better than I know myself. I’ve always said I don’t need him- I WANT him.
The truth is- I do need him and want him! March 5th will be our 32nd wedding anniversary. I would love to be able to renew our wedding vows as I’d marry this man over and over. For better or worse!
Never take a day for granted. Love your spouse like there is no tomorrow- as none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.
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