"I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, a life not lived in the shadow of cancer but in the light," Swayze said at a September 2008 Stand Up 2 Cancer event. "I dream that the word 'cure' will no longer be followed by the words 'it's impossible,' and I ask only one thing of you. Will you stand up with me? Will you stand up to cancer?"
Soon after that speech, Swayze and Niemi renewed their vows -- he riding up on a white horse, vigorous and passionate until the end.
"We did it very Prince Charming and Snow White," he told Walters in the last interview before he died.
"It was like a fairy tale," Niemi added. "One of the happiest days ever."
"I have no greater respect for any other human being on this earth like I have for her," Swayze told Walters.
Niemi echoed that respect for her husband, and said that while she grieved throughout Swayze's cancer battle, she never showed him that grief.
"Every time he looked at me, I wanted him to know he was OK," she said.
"It's like spending 22 months grieving," she said, but the actual loss "makes all that previous sadness look like an intellectual concept." When you lose somebody, "that kind of grief happens on a cellular level."
At her first public appearance after her husband's death, Niemi talked about the pain of losing Swayze.
"This is all new to me," she said, during a grief panel at the Women's Conference last week. "I thought during the 22 months of my husband's illness that it gave me time to get used to the idea of losing him, and I found for myself when I actually got to that point I said, no, no, no. That wasn't the same at all, the actual loss is -- it's like an animal all on its own. It is almost like when the grief takes it, your body is not your own. "
Niemi also paid tribute to her husband's fighting spirit.
"Cancer may have taken him, but it never beat him," she said.