WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -Sometimes, memories of the past can turn into your future.
Jessica Evans’ mother, Vickie, was ready to marry the love of her life on March 24, 1990. But a diagnosis eight days before the big day would halt everything.
“She had bruises that wouldn’t go away. She went to the doctor, and my dad was like, ‘Oh, it’s probably just a vitamin deficiency,’ you know, ‘go see the doctor and see what they can do to help you,’”Jessica Evans said. “She got a call that same day from her doctors saying, ‘You need to go home and pack a bag; you’re going to be at the hospital for a while. So, go home, say your goodbyes to your family and go to the hospital with your things because you’re going to be there for a while.’”
Doctors diagnosed Vickie with leukemia, forcing her to cancel the wedding ceremony.
“Her doctor told her that if she wanted to get married, she could get married in the chapel at the hospital, but that’s not what my mom wanted. She wanted her dream wedding. They said that’s the only way that you can get married this year because in a week, you’re not going to recognize her,” Jessica said.
Vickie won her battle with leukemia and a year later in a dress so beautiful, it’s been worn more than once, she married her fiancé, Kurt.
Jessica said her mother and father paid for their wedding themselves along with paying for medical bills from Vickie’s diagnosis. She said Vickie’s cousin passed down her wedding dress to help avoid another hefty cost. After the wedding, Vickie passed down the dress to another family member who wore it in her wedding.
“And the dress has been lost since then. After my mom’s wedding, it was given to my dad’s cousin, and they gave it to a thrift store after their wedding. She was free to do with it as she pleased because my mom felt like fashion would change by then, and she also was not supposed to have children,” Jessica said.
But three years later, Jessica was born. She said she never really thought about the dress until she met her now fiancé, Justin.
“We were just having fun, going on dates and watching movies together and stuff. I noticed that it had become harder to walk up and down the stairs. I would walk up the stairs in his house, not being able to breathe, and he would just hold me. And I’m almost in tears because I can’t breathe, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on,’” Jessica said.
After she noticed she was getting bruises just like her mom, Jessica went to the doctor where she was also diagnosed with leukemia. Jessica said her doctors told her it’s very rare for a mother and daughter to both be diagnosed with the cancer.
Jessica was diagnosed just three weeks after meeting Justin.
“It was difficult because I’ve seen my mom go through her cancer and go through the aftermath of it l, and it’s been a long journey for her. And what they were telling us, I just couldn’t believe how bad it was going to be,” Justin Beehler said.
Jessica said she told Justin he didn’t have to stay with her after the diagnosis, especially since they’ve only known each other for one month.
“I just kept telling him, you don’t have stay. Like, why would you stay with a cancer girlfriend? You didn’t ask for this, I mean, neither did I but you really didn’t. He said, ‘I’m not going to leave you. You’re my person. And we’re going to get you through this so that we can get married.’ And a year later, we’re engaged,” Jessica said.
Jessica beat her leukemia diagnosis, just like her mother, and is now planning her wedding at The Hudson wedding venue in Wichita.
But there’s still one thing missing. Her mother’s wedding dress that was given to a thrift store in the Wichita, Winfield or Wellington area. Jessica took to social media, posting pictures of the dress to see if by chance anyone had purchased it over the last 30 years.
Many people responded to Jessica’s plea, offering help.
“Just random strangers from all over, commenting and saying, ‘I got married in the 90s; my dress is really similar. It’s not your mom’s, and it’s not the same, but if you want to take a look at it, I can send you pictures.’ Which is really amazing for some stranger that I don’t even know to offer their wedding dress,” Jessica said.
It was bought locally from Reni’s Bridal on Amidon in Wichita. The owner remembers the dress, but said the shop doesn’t have anything close to it in stock.
Jessica said if she’s not able to track down the dress, she’ll incorporate certain parts of it into her special day.
“Growing up, it wasn’t nearly as important as going through her own journey with her cancer. And now that that’s the same story, they got married right around their cancer time. And now we’re in the same boat. Everything lined up,” Justin said.
Jessica hopes whoever is flipping through her wedding album will know her story of battles and triumphs will end the same way her mother’s did.
“Even when things get dark, there’s always a light at the end, and it doesn’t matter what the light is. It’s a story of love conquers all.”
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