Cancer-stricken teacher marries boyfriend in hospital chapel

LOVE conquers all that even cervical cancer stage 4 that afflicts a teacher did not stop her fiancé from marrying her.

Rosanna Kim Bautista, 28, a registered nurse but works as a public school teacher in Calasiao, Pangasinan did not let her pain get in the way to cherish the happiness and fulfillment of her wish to marry the guy she loves most.

Newly-wed couple. Leonardo and Rosanna Garcia have their wedding picture with Fr. Rovillos and their instant wedding organizer (and ring bearer) Councilor Soriano. (Contributed)

Wheelchair-bound, with her dextrose attached to her hand, Rosanna was a radiant bride as she wore her wedding gown and her best smile when she wed Leonardo Garcia Jr, 32, her boyfriend of two years, in a hurriedly prepared wedding ceremony on September 6.

“I married her not because of pity but because of my pure love to her,“ Leonardo, who works as a pension loan collector of a financing group, said in an interview.

They met in Bani town, Leonardo’s hometown, in a public school where Rosanna was initially assigned to teach when she joined the government service.

Leonardo proposed to Rosanna last year when they went to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag town in August 2018.

A month later, Rosanna got the shock of her life. She was told she was diagnosed with cervical cancer stage 4. From that day on, she has been bedridden, could hardly talk, was  losing weight fast and feeling weaker and in pain each day.

Last week, Mangaldan Municipal Councilor Aldrin Soriano and his wife visited Rosanna at the Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Memorial Hospital. At the parking lot, Leonardo mentioned  to the Soriano couple about their plan to marry this year but that was aborted owing to her illness and their low finances after spending for Bautista’s treatment.

As if heaven intervened, Soriano and his wife decided to make their wedding plan come true. They rushed to arrange to produce the wedding gown, wedding rings, bouquet, including arranging a priest to officiate with the archbishop’s blessing to have the ceremony held at the hospital’s chapel to make Rosanna’s and Leonardo’s dream happen.

A group of students, mostly members of the school’s choir, who visited Bautista that morning decided to stay to sing during the ceremony .

With the Villaflors’ support, the Leonardo and Rosanna were married at the hospital chapel, the first for the hospital. The couple’s parents and few relatives and a pair of godparents were also present.

Leonardo said he saw Rosanna clearly overjoyed and excited, her eyes glowing in spite of her pain while someone was applying make-up on her. She made an effort to wear the wedding gown that she thought she’d never get to wear.

“It was funny that Councilor Soriano took on the role of ring bearer prompting Father Jake Rovillos to comment that he was so cute,” Leonardo recalled.

But before the wedding, Leonardo said Rosanna asked him several times if he was sure about marrying her. She told him he could still look for someone else to marry, adding that she has already become a burden for him.

Leonardo told her she will be his bride that he will not leave her.

“We’re okay when you were well. Why should I leave you now just because you are ill?,” he told her.”  “No. We will face this challenge together.”

Now, he said he dreads the day when Rosanna finally leaves him forever.

He said he keeps on praying to God to heal her and remove the pain she feels. “I see her in great pain every minute, every hour and all I can do is to rub my hands on her frail and aching body to ease the pain,” he said with a cracked voice.

“I always ask God not to take her away from me yet and to heal her,” he added.

He said their dream was to have a family and Rosanna felt sorry since she could no longer  give him a child. 

Still he assured her, “It’s okay. You will be my baby forever.”

After their wedding, Bautista was ushered into the radiation room for her scheduled treatment.

Leonardo said healing and recovery for her will take a long time and they both continue to pray for a miracle to happen. But for now, the newlywed Garcias are faced with the dilemma of how they can continue her treatment given their already drained resources. 

Will there be good Samaritans to help? (PhilStar Wire Service)

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