'Life was uncertain, but our love isn't': N.S. couple plans Valentine's Day wedding after Stage 4 cancer diagnosis
AFTON STATION, N.S. -- A Nova Scotia bride is set to marry her sweetheart on Valentine’s Day -- but the big day has come a year earlier than expected, due to a devastating diagnosis.
Briana Fougere was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer last month -- a day before her 23rd birthday.
“It’s not curable, but what’s strange about it is my age,” says Fougere, who lives in Afton Station, N.S.
“This isn’t common. This doesn’t happen. So, the doctors don’t know what’s going on. They don’t really have a timeline for me, so that’s how I’m staying positive, just because of the unknown.”
Faced with the difficult diagnosis, Fougere and Stephen Mattie decided to move their wedding date up a year -- giving them only two weeks to plan the big day.
“I can’t wait to marry him,” says the bride. “Our original plan was next Valentine’s Day, but after my diagnosis we figured life was uncertain, but our love isn’t, so we’re going to get married now, while I’m healthy and happy.”
The couple has booked the venue, selected their menu, and, as of Monday, found the perfect dress.
While planning a wedding in two weeks wasn’t what they had in mind when they got engaged, they say it has been somewhat of a welcome distraction.
“It’s been crazy busy. Planning the wedding with her family and sisters and friends has definitely kept our spirits up and kept us going,” says Mattie. “It’s a lot to take in, her diagnosis and stuff.”
“It gave us the drive to keep going, having the wedding and something to look forward to,” notes Fougere.
The couple is expressing gratitude for their families, their community, and local businesses, who are all lending a helping hand -- and some words of encouragement -- as they prepare to tie the knot.
A GoFundMe page was created in the hopes of raising $2,000 to help Fougere and Mattie with wedding expenses. Thanks to the generosity of others, more than $22,000 has been raised for the couple.
“I really wanted to thank Kaitlin DeCoste. She runs Little Boho Apparel, and she started the GoFundMe page for us, and her sharing the post alone got it out to hundreds of people, and I just can’t thank her enough,” says Fougere.
“We’re going to have our dream wedding now because of this.”
Fougere and Mattie hope to plan a honeymoon sometime after the wedding.
As for Fougere’s health, she is currently undergoing intense chemotherapy.
“She’s so strong,” says her groom. “She’s the strongest person I know to get through all this. It’s inspirational.”