NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A few years ago, a couple met on dating app, Bumble. Just a few days after their first date, they told each other, “I love you.”
The details of their story, and what they’re fighting through together, is something truly extraordinary.
“We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day,” said Amanda Dimarzio, propped up with pillows on a couch. “We love each other every day.”
“Pain in my butt,” she said, turning to Sean Woodard.
On a Valentines with Sean and Amanda, you’ll find some hearts and some cards in the room, but it’ll be no where near the number of indestructible patriotic supersoldier shields. Something about Captain America speaks to Sean.
“You’re the guy who always runs toward trouble and not away from it,” Amanda said to Sean. “That’s Captain America-y.”
As much as he wants to, Sean can’t shield Amanda from one thing. It’s the reason they can’t sit side by side on this Valentines.
“She can’t be closer than six feet to people for three days for treatment,” said Sean.
“I had cancer actually before I met Sean,” said Amanda. “Before I even went on our first date, I told him about it.”
Sean goes with Amanda to Vanderbilt for monthly treatments of her tumors. She’s been given a 10% chance of living longer than five years.
“With the radiation, they take a lot of precautions,” said Amanda walking around a hospital room. “That’s why everything is wrapped in plastic. Do you want me to be honest or tell you what I tell everybody else? Nah, it’s fine. It’s no big deal. Same as every other treatment. Nah, I’m nervous. My body’s probably going to be like, ‘nope, sucks to be you.'”
Through all she’s facing, Amanda has a constant. It’s someone who gets her through these days, some always there, someone who asked her to be his wife.
“I tell him to run all the time,” Amanda said, sitting in her wedding dress as Sean wore his tux. The two spoke just minutes before they wed. “
“Like, asking somebody to be with somebody who’s sick, that’s asking a lot,” said Amanda.
“I’m not a fan of running,” Sean smiled. “I’m lazy. I love her. I don’t want to go anywhere. Sickness or not, I’m here.”
“Hi baby,” said Amanda, as Sean lifted her veil.
“Hi. How are you?”
“I’m good. How are you?”
“As your wife, I promise to always buy JIF peanut butter and not the store brand,” Amanda said. “I will always watch paranormal videos with you at bedtime. You have taught me that truly loving someone really is unconditional, so when I say, ‘I love you’ to you, I say it with my entire soul.”
While Amanda has her hero, Sean does too. It’s someone who can take on the dark days with such bravery, with a smile.
“I was done,” said Sean, looking over at Amanda. “I knew that was it.”
“It’s cause I’m cute.”
Back to Valentines.
Amanda and Sean circled around a table with Amanda’s best friend and her father. The four played a game of Cards Against Humanity.
“But before I kill you, Mr. Bond I must show you…,” Amanda read from a card.
“A monkey smoking a cigar,” she said reading one of the answers. “A bioengineered assault turtle with acid breath. Yeah, let’s go with the turtles.”
Amanda and Sean wouldn’t spend this day any other way than with the people most important in their world.
Their story is a lesson. Shield the one you love from what you can. Be there for what you can’t.
The Wish Upon a Wedding organization paid for Sean and Amanda’s wedding. The organization grants weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness.