Sarena and Tyler: Love is Giving Strength Through Cancer Fight - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Sarena and Tyler: Love is Giving Strength Through Cancer Fight

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Love Gives Young Couple Strength Through Cancer Fight

    Being young and in love is supposed to be carefree, but for high school sweethearts Sarena and Tyler, unfortunately, that's not the case. Sarena was diagnosed with bone cancer, and together they're facing the fight of their lives. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016)

    Being young and in love is supposed to be carefree, but for high school sweethearts Sarena Saad and Tyler Vilandre, unfortunately, that's not the case.

    "Yeah, I just got tired," said Sarena Saad, while carving pumpkins in October.

    Exhaustion and overheating are just two of the signs that she's fighting cancer.

    "I think sometimes people kind of forget I'm sick," Sarena said with a smile. It's easy to see how, because Sarena is a force.

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    Tyler, on the other hand, describes himself as shy and quiet.

    "She's a talker and pretty outgoing," he said. "So, we're kind of opposites, and she can do the talking while I do the listening."

    It was Tyler who helped identify the knot in Sarena's wrist that lead to her diagnosis with bone cancer.

    "So, these are my Beads of Courage," Sarena said, while dumping out a bowl of multi-colored glass beads.

    Each bead represents a benchmark: "hair loss, that was when I did puppy therapy in the hospital," Sarena said, while pointing out specific beads.

    Tyler was by her side the entire time.

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    "Looking at all the yellow ones, it's just crazy to see how many nights I was in the hospital," Sarena said.

    The hardest part for Tyler, was "knowing that I couldn't do anything to help her, besides be there, I guess," he said.

    Tyler was there when the cancer left, and he was there when it came back.

    Sarena's cancer is now terminal. Her doctors say her days are numbered.

    "I remember there were certain nights where I would just cry to Tyler because I was like, 'I'm gonna die,' you know?" Sarena said.

    "I just knew that I wanted to marry her," Tyler said.

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    He'd been planning to propose after graduating college, but her doctors suggested not waiting, and he didn't.

    For the proposal, Tyler utilized Sarena's favorite party favor: glow sticks.

    "She always gets super excited and dances around. So I figured, if I just got a whole bunch of glow sticks it would be really awesome," Tyler said.

    "And on the wall it said, 'Will you marry me' in glow sticks," Sarena said.

    At the Tarrant County Courthouse, while getting the paperwork for their wedding ceremony, Sarena explained how the nonprofit Heroes for Children stepped in to help plan and provide every wedding wish.

    "They were like, 'Send us a check list of everything you need done,'" Sarena said. Heroes for Children helped ease her physical and financial stress.

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    On their wedding day, "Is there like a fan anywhere?" Tyler asked, while finishing getting ready.

    And just down the hall, "I'm kind of nervous," Sarena said, while getting buttoned into her dress. "I'm excited to see his reaction."

    The bridal party took their positions, and as Sarena walked down the aisle toward Tyler she said it felt "like everyone else in the room disappeared."

    During the ceremony, feeling close to overheating, Sarena grabbed a fan.

    "Sorry, I have to," Sarena said.

    And like he's always done, Tyler was there to help her. He took the fan from her and started using it to cool her face.

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    "By the way," the pastor said, "somebody said it over here, you may not have heard it, but that is Tyler." And then he patted Tyler on the shoulder.

    Through their vows they put their love into their own words, while reflecting on everything they've already been through.

    Tyler said, in part, "To finding out we would be fighting something much bigger than the both of us for the rest of our lives, these are the times when I made a promise to you – a promise I want to make to you again today, in front of our friends and family, and every day for the rest of our life."

    "You have shown me what love truly is," Sarena said. "Love is you supporting me when my legs were not strong enough to walk ... You are the reason that I wake up every day with a smile on my face, and you are the reason why I will never stop fighting."

    "It is my great privilege to introduce to you, Mr. and Mrs. Vilandre," the pastor said, followed by cheers from the guests.

    After their honeymoon, Sarena sat on her couch and sifted through Tyler's old love letters.

    "One hundred things he loves about me," she read, while taking a break during a visit from her hospice nurse.

    "Words cannot even begin to explain just how happy you make me," Sarena read from a letter.

    These newlyweds are facing death, but choosing to fully live their lives filled with love.

    "Love, your husband, Tyler Vilandre," Sarena read, with a smile.

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