Childhood Cancer Survivors Find Love After Reuniting Years Later

Chukwudi Onyewuchi
A married couple
Shutterstock | 262221492

Many years after crossing paths in one of the most unexpected ways, childhood cancer survivors Joel Alsup and Lindsey Wilkerson returned to the place they first met and married. To top it all up, the venue happened to be the place that saved their lives. Here's a closer look at the inspiring story.

Joel's Battle With Cancer

In 1987, Joel was only seven years old when he began having issues with a bone near his right shoulder. He often struggled with buckling the seat belt but his dad, Bob, never considered it a serious situation until they played catch with a tennis ball, and Joel reached for the ball with his left hand. 

Joel eventually went to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. After many doctors' appointments, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that led to the amputation of his right arm.

Inside Lindsey's Cancer Diagnosis

Lindsey's cancer diagnosis came only a few years after Joel's in 1991. Just a child at the time, she was informed she had to battle acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Sadly, Lindsey's illness wasn't the only thing she worried about. The little girl was concerned about her parents' finances until St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital reached out to them, noting that they didn't have to worry about finances.

Joel And Lindsey's First Encounter

Joel and Lindsey first met in 1993, during one of the most difficult times of their lives. Thirteen and 12 years old, respectively, the duo crossed paths at a fundraiser for the hospital. Recalling the moment, Lindsey noted that their families were invited to speak and share their journeys, during which she developed a big crush on Joel due to his cute looks and sense of humor.

Life After Their First Meeting

Following their first encounter, Joel and Lindsey bumped into each other whenever their doctor's appointments overlapped. Sadly, the pair lost touch at some point after they went to college, but fate had different plans for them. In 2003, Lindsey landed a job in the event and patient liaison department of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital after graduating from college.

Joel And Lindsey Reunite

After landing her dream job, Lindsey got married, and a year later, she received one of the greatest surprises. While making her initial rounds through the pediatric treatment and research facility one day, a staff member mentioned someone was there to see her. Then, Lindsey was led to a small conference room where she surprisingly reunited with Joel, who was the hospital's information and technology coordinator.

Joel And Lindsey Keep Things Platonic

Lindsey was already married when the pair reunited, so she and Joel remained very good friends. For the next couple of years, they kept in touch and grew closer with every passing day. Then, in 2015, after 12 years of marital bliss, Lindsey's marriage ended and gave way to her romantic involvement with Joel.

Joel Confesses His Feelings For Lindsey

In September 2016, Joel finally opened up about his feelings to Lindsey. The pair were watching the movie Alien at Joel's home in Memphis. After it ended, Joel told Lindsey, "I love you." Thankfully, she felt the same way about him and said the three words to him. Finally, after 25 years of first meeting each other, Joel and Lindsey became romantically involved.

Inside Joel And Lindsey's Marriage

Married couple
Unsplash | Olivia Bauso

After dating for about two years, Joel and Lindsey walked down the aisle at the golden-domed Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion. The couple was joined by Brent Powell, an episcopal deacon and the head Chaplain at St Jude's, who shared Joel and Lindsey's inspiring journey with the 150 guests in attendance. Indeed, it was a beautiful and memorable experience.

Life After The Marriage

A few days after tying the knot, Joel and Lindsey opened up about marrying each other. Joel noted that coming back to the place that saved their lives to get married was one of the greatest honors of his life. On the other hand, Lindsey said she was lucky enough to marry her best friend and the love of her life. In addition, the pair said they were cancer-free but required to submit to medical exams every five years to monitor their health.

Filed Under: