Alma Fragoso was worried she would not make it to her wedding day. The 31-year-old from Pomona, California, has been fighting stage 4 colon cancer for over a year.
In spite of her illness, Fragoso married her long-time boyfriend, Juan Franco, in a ceremony paid for by the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. While some relay participants wore workout clothes, Fragoso wore a short wedding dress with a veil and tiara.
“In my mind I was like ‘Dear God, please make me beautiful,’” Fragoso said of Saturday’s ceremony. “When I saw the [wedding] pictures, I said ‘I’m so beautiful.’”
Hundreds of friends, family members and cancer survivors were there to celebrate.
“They were able to see me smile, and I hadn’t seen me smile in a long time,” Fragoso told ABC News of her friends and family.
Fragoso said the ceremony was “a dream come true,” and said she hoped her story would help raise awareness of services offered by the American Cancer Society.
Fragoso said she was initially diagnosed with cervical cancer more than two years ago when she was pregnant. Rather than end her pregnancy, Fragoso decided to continue and gave birth to a healthy son, Isaiah.
A year after giving birth to Isaiah, Fragoso went into remission, but a routine checkup revealed signs of cancer, this time in her colon.
“[It happened] so fast,” Fragoso said of the cancer’s rapid progress. “It’s so hard…to see how a cancer [spreads.]”
Now the disease is so advanced that Fragoso said her doctors have stopped further treatment, but she’s not giving up. She credits her new husband with helping her rest and take time to heal.
“He asks me about recipes and gets the recipes and him and the kids get together,” she said. “It’s beautiful because I’m able to be at peace and fight this.”