We were 28 years old – the age one thinks about getting married, travelling the world or advancing career, when our lives changed.

Devon was a healthy, retired pro-athlete who purchased his first home the year prior. We had been dating a year and a half and talking about getting engaged. Life was wonderful and exactly where we both wanted to be personally, financially and professionally.

I will never forget when the doctor came into the emergency room that night and said the word one never hopes to hear – cancer.

We were both in complete disbelief. How does this happen to a healthy, young person with their whole life ahead of them? I tried to keep strong in front of him, but it was the hardest word I have ever had to hear. To make the situation worse, Devon did not have any family here and I had to call his parents with the news – including his father, whom I had never met.

In the coming weeks, Devon experienced all the stages of grief. Myself, coming from a strong faith background, focused on prayer, faith, and a lot of hope. After numerous tests, it was conclusive – Devon had stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Due to his age and athletic background, he was strong enough to qualify for an intense, rare chemo, increasing his chances of survival. Although there were months of eight to 10 hours of chemo treatment for four days per week, appointments, several drugs pumped into his body and severe weakness, Devon didn’t let any of this bring him down. He remained positive throughout. He kept telling me ‘you cannot kill steel’; trying to convince me he was some sort of superhero. Throughout his illness I kept repeating a biblical verse that I hold close to my heart: Hebrews 11:1 Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.

In January, 2011 we were given the news – Devon was cancer free and in remission. He survived – we survived. There is still a long road ahead. After one appointment, you count down to the next. Having that hope gave us, and still gives us, strength between appointments and on a daily basis. Devon is still cancer free and looks at life very differently now. He now focuses on things he has always wanted to do and reconnecting with others.

In April, 2012 we were married and have vowed to live our life through the hopes of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Anna Salloum-Fraser
Edmonton, AB

May, 2012