Last year, Sandra Raquel Nogueira Pereira was diagnosed with uterine cancer.

But while the months that followed were filled with the pain and fear typical to a cancer diagnosis, Sandra’s story was also one with intense joy, as she finally fulfilled a longtime wish of marrying her boyfriend of 16 years.  

Several months into her hospital stay, Sandra married Sérgio Pereira da Silva on May 2, according to the Diocese of Crato, Brazil. The couple has three children.

The diocese said in a statement that she had been admitted to the Cariri Regional Hospital in the city of Juazeiro do Norte, located in Ceará State in northeast Brazil.

While at the hospital, Sandra shared with the staff her greatest dream: to get married. Everyone decided to help make her wish come true.

Ticiane Oliveira, the hospital social worker, was responsible for organizing the ceremony, and Zilma Casimirio, a member of the Legion of Mary movement, worked on getting the necessary documents.

Palliative care doctor Patricia Mauriz said that during the ceremony, the doctors gave Sandra the necessary medications to alleviate pain.

Before the wedding, the couple made their confessions to Father Joaquim Ivo Alves dos Santos, treasurer of the Diocese of Crato, and Father Antônio Rom√£o, vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica. Both priests married the couple.

Their eldest daughter was the maid of honor, and she scattered rose petals along the path her mother was to travel. When the wedding march sounded, Sandra entered in a wheelchair, accompanied by a doctor and one of her two other children.

During the ceremony, Father Alves dos Santos said that “we are here representing the Church that Pope Francis is calling for, a Church that goes out. We have to go to the people who are in need and we are here today to bless and ask for the sanctification of this couple.”

When the wedding was over, the eldest daughter presented a statue of our Lady of Fatima, and the whole family consecrated themselves to her.

Sandra said that this was a day of joy and she was thrilled to have realized her dream in the month of Mary and of mothers. “I've already cried a lot, so today I'm not going to cry. I imagined what the wedding would be like, but this is even better than what I hoped for,” she said.

Sérgio said that he has faith that the marriage will help his wife to recover. Photo credit: isak55 via