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Banner Health hospital hosts dream wedding for young cancer patient

(Photo by Mckindree Patton, Courtesy of Banner Health)

PHOENIX — A Valley woman battling late-stage osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, was surprised with the wedding of her dreams at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale.

Samantha Preston, 22, was first diagnosed with the terminal illness in August 2019 and has received extensive chemotherapy treatment at Banner Thunderbird, the hospital said in a press release.

When Preston told her medical team of her recent engagement to now-husband Angel Aguilar, the nurses knew they wanted to help give Preston a wedding day to remember that would also be safe for her, especially during the pandemic, as she continued treatment.

The team was inspired by the support they saw Aguilar give Preston over the course of her treatment, as well as seeing the love they share for their young son Odin.

“After getting her OK, it was time to pedal to the metal,” nurse practitioner Amy Mabry said in the release. “We just wanted to make sure that as amazing as Sam is, she got to experience a special day for her, Angel and their son Odin.”

The wedding was organized within a week by Banner Health and Smiles for Miles, a nonprofit group that works with cancer patients.

The hospital transformed a family waiting area into a wedding venue, complete with lights, flowers and a wedding cake.

The team also hired a photographer to capture the day, as well as a professional makeup artist for Preston, who had come in that day to get a transfusion.

“They just completely went all out with the decorations, and they had it all planned where they would cover up my (IV) pole, hiding the transfusion going on. It was just so magical!” Preston said.

“And I told them if they wouldn’t have done what they did, I would have just gone out for dinner after getting the papers from the courthouse.”

Preston’s medical team said it was the first time they’ve hosted a wedding at the hospital and were honored to plan it.

The family has recently moved to New Hampshire to be close to relatives. As Preston continues her battle against the aggressive disease, she remains positive and thankful.

“I just always wanted to remember to overcome adversity with a positive attitude, because that’s what’s going to get you through it the easiest,” Preston said. “You know, everybody has their problems, no matter what it is”

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