An Indiana teen battling terminal cancer has tied the knot with his high school sweetheart after being told he has only months left to live.
Senior Chase Smith, from Indianapolis, was first diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, an aggressive cancer that forms in bone or soft tissue, in 2014. He battled and defeated additional bouts of cancer in 2016 and 2019.
However, in March 2020, the 18-year-old received heartbreaking news; the tumors had returned to his lungs, his shoulder, his back, and his hip. In April, revealed the family’s GoFundMe page, Chase learned that tumors had also reached the lining of his brain.
He was given just three to five months to live.
“Over the years, I’ve watched him as this has recurred multiple times,” Chase’s oncologist at Riley Hospital for Children, Dr. Melissa K. Bear, told USA Today. “I’ve watched him grow with the cancer, really come into his own as to what he wants and what’s important to him.”
The senior took his final diagnosis as an opportunity to assess his priorities in life.
He and his girlfriend, Sadie Mills, also 18, are very much in love, and they had planned to marry after college. Sadie attends Mooresville High and plans to pursue a diving career, and Chase attends Indian Creek High and was once a nationally ranked swimmer.
After learning that their time together would be drastically cut short, however, the teens decided not to wait a moment longer to say their vows. Miraculously, the couple’s families channeled their support into helping them plan a beautiful wedding ceremony in just four short days.
“I told [our families] how much Sadie had changed my life and how much I loved her,” Chase explained to the Indy Star, “how special she had been to me, the simple fact that there is nobody I’ve been able to open up about my personal life and cancer journey like I’m able to with her.”
“She is able to calm me down in a lot of scenarios when nobody else can,” the high school senior continued, admitting that he and Sadie had barely spent more than a day or two apart since their relationship began.
Sadie praised Chase for being “so sweet” and “very polite.”
“He’s a good Christian boy,” she added. “We just fell in love with each other’s personalities. Now, he is all that matters to me.”
On April 29, Chase and Sadie got married in a small, intimate home ceremony. The high school sweethearts said their vows at the end of Sadie’s parents’ driveway, the very same spot where they had shared their first kiss six months earlier.
In moving photos from the ceremony, Chase can be seen struggling to hold back tears as his bride walks down the makeshift aisle toward him. The teen later described the day as “pure joy.”
Insisting that their wedding was prompted by love, and not his terminal diagnosis, Chase explained, “It was more just a wakeup-call of, hey, God wants you guys together. What’s the point of waiting if you already know?”
“This is like a Hallmark love story,” added Chase’s mom, Kelli Smith. “A Nicholas Sparks love story. You just don’t see love like this.”
The family’s GoFundMe page continues to share with the world updates on Chase’s journey while raising vital funds for his cancer treatment. To date, the fund has amassed over $150,000 from generous donors.
Chase’s advice to others is to cherish every moment with the people you love. “Enjoy and give everything you can in those relationships,” he told the Indy Star.
Newlywed Sadie said that she, Chase, and their families are praying for a miracle together every single day. “We pray that Chase would stay on this earth longer so we can bring more people our story of love,” she said.