Cancer Surviors get their “Happily Ever After” after 25 years

Cancer Surviors get their “Happily Ever After” after 25 years

Some children don’t grow up dealing with hard-hitting circumstances until adulthood. Two children dealt with the hard-hitting for most of their childhood.

It certainly was hard-hitting for Joel Alsup and Lindsey Wilkerson. Alsup was seven when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and Wilkerson was 10 when she battled with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Childhood seemed grim for both.

“At the age of 10, I went from being a kid who had her whole life ahead of her to thinking that this cancer was a death sentence for me. But fortunately, our family found hope and support through St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital,” Wilkerson said.

“They discovered a tumor in my right arm. It had grown large enough that it broke a bone in my arm near my shoulder,” Alsup said.

Eventually Alsup lost his right arm. Only after both were declared cancer-free and reunited, did both become the happiest they have ever been in life.

After they became instant childhood friends, both lost contact after leaving for college, but reunited after both accepted jobs at St. Jude’s.

“When I met this guy, when I was in treatment, I admired him. I looked up to him. I thought he was such an incredible person. We grew in our friendship over the years,” Wilkerson said.

After working at St. Judes for awhile, both started to develop feelings for each other and Alsup decided to take their relationship to another level and propse to her.

“I was finally brave enough to tell her that I liked her, not only that, but I loved her. Luckily she felt the same way,” Alsup said.

“I could have never fathomed that I would be sitting here today at his side as his  wife, having the privilege to be married on the grounds of the place that saved our lives,” she said.

Eventually both settled on September 1 as their wedding date, which symbolizes the first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

“It was the first day of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, because all of these pieces have come together to give us our ‘happily ever after,’” she said. “Now it’s our turn to pass that gift on.”

The couple had a chaplain (who met Alsup during his early days of treatment) officiate the ceremony. The couple also had other former cancer patients at their wedding party.

Both hope their story encourages individuals in their battle against cancer.

Five local, inexpensive events this month

Five local, inexpensive events this month

Oregon is returning to its rainy-state and its trees are changing colors — fall is here, and there is plenty to do. October offers numerous local and inexpensive/free events.

Here are five diverse events located around Silverton, Salem, and Portland areas:

1. Bauman Farms Pumpkin Patch and Fall Festival

Bauman Farms offers festive activities for the whole family through October 31. The attractions include a pumpkin patch, mazes, slides, apple tasting, hayrides, cider demos, and an animal barn.

Open Monday–Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Located at 12989 Howell Prairie Road, Gervais, OR.  Admission is $5 on weekends. For more price information visit their website.

2. Literary Discussion group

If you love to read contemporary and classic literature, and want a free space to discuss books and meet other fellow book lovers, this event is for you. The group meets in the Plaza room at the Salem Public Library, located at 585 Liberty St. SE. The next events are October 22 and 29 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

3. Men for Hope and Safety Community Engagement  

Men for Hope and Safety works alongside the Center for Hope and Safety, a Salem organization serving victims and survivors of domestic violence, to engage men in conversation and provide resources to prevent domestic violence.

On October 23 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. the organization will provide a presentation and discussion about capacity building opportunities. The discussion is open to teens and adults. The center is Located in downtown Salem at 605 Center St. NE.

4. The Oregon Garden

The Oregon Garden offers more than 20 specialty gardens and features, which include waterfalls, quiet ponds, fountains, the 400-year-old Signature Oak, a Northwest Garden, a pet garden, and art.

The garden is open daily through October from 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. Located in Silverton at 879 W. Main St. Tickets range from $11 to $5 (ages four and younger are free).

5. Macbeth at the Pentacle Theater

A rendition of one of William Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful plays. The play runs through October 25 and begins at 7:30 p.m.

The theater is located in Salem at 324 52nd Ave. NW. For tickets call 503-485-4300.