Man's dream of marriage comes true even as he fights cancer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Most little girls start dreaming of their wedding proposal when they're still playing princess -- who will it be, how will it happen, and where? For one Louisville couple, the hospital proved to be the perfect place.
It was an emotional scene in a break room at University of Louisville Hospital, as Dale Monteith's girlfriend Ashley Jewell entered, and at the first sight of him, she placed her hands over her mouth in surprise and began to cry. Hospital staff gathered in the room laughed with joy. "Hey, babe," Monteith told her. "Sit down. Got somethin' for you."
Dale Monteith wanted to propose on his birthday, but it's not exactly the day he was born.
He told Jewell, "Thanks for always having my back. Will you marry me?"
The response, made between sobs, was, "Yes!"
This story starts three years ago, when Monteith met Jewell in the mall. She says she, "called him Adidas forever because he bought Adidas that day from me."
The chance meeting forged a relationship that has endured more hurdles than most will ever know. Jewell explains, "After him having cancer, and a day later I found out I was pregnant, and we just been holding each other's hand through it all."
25-year-old Monteith suffers from Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. While showing symptoms since 2006, he went undiagnosed for five years. By then, the cancer was stronger than every chemo, radiation, and drug therapy on the market. Of Jewell, he says, "Just having her and being the strong woman she is made it a lot easier for me."
Driven by this lasting love and the life of his newborn son, Monteith entered a drug study, trying out cancer medications, fighting to survive. Jewell says, "It's been hard, I'm so glad this day finally came. Because a lot of people don't even get this or it takes years. He's been blessed that it came now."
In January a new drug called Ponatinib worked. He is in remission, and on this day will get a bone marrow transplant form an anonymous European donor that will ignite his stem cells back to action.
His physician, Dr. Cesar Rodriguez, explains, "If we weren't to do the transplant on him right now, the chances of leukemia coming back are pretty high."
When the nurses on Six East heard Monteith hoped to propose, they raised the money he didn't have. Meghan's Mountain Charitable Foundation would also contribute.
And on what he now considers his new birthday, he turned the nurses' break room into the embodiment of their dream.
Nurse Melissa Pritchett said, "When you're up here on this floor there is so much sadness and when you can give that kind of happiness it's totally worth it."
"There's no rush whatsoever," Monteith says.
Jewell says, "I'm not going anywhere and neither is he."
Dale Monteith proposed on his new birthday -- the day he started his life again.
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