Keri and Tony have been married for one year, and so many of their relationship landmarks have revolved around Disneyland. After all, Tony first proposed to Keri on Space Mountain, and their wedding took place in the Disneyland Hotel, with a ceremony in the Rose Court Garden and a reception at the Sleeping Beauty Pavilion. But their first year wasn’t the “happily ever after” they had hoped for. Tragically, Keri was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly after the wedding, and the first year of their marriage was spent in the hospital, with Keri undergoing chemo treatments and battling the disease that was spreading all over her body.
“At the time, things looked pretty bleak,” photographer Jenna Henderson, who got to know the couple during their engagement and wedding shoot, wrote on her blog. “She was given a 15% chance of survival and the cancer had spread. When she went into surgery, we watched as her sister updated her Facebook page with the news that Keri might lose an arm, and that things were not going well.”
But then, the couple was given more than a “happily ever after.” They were given a miracle. After the surgery, Keri began to improve. “The amazing thing about Keri is that she kept positive throughout the entire year,” Jenna continued on her blog. “When her friends and family used the hashtag #keristrong, they weren’t kidding.” Jenna had met Keri a few years back. “Keri contacted me about photographing her Disney wedding, but it wasn’t until I took Keri and Tony’s engagement photos that I learned how special they are,” Jenna told HelloGiggles. “We walked around the park together taking photos for their engagement session, and stayed long after the actual photo part had ended, laughing and sharing stories about the park.” Space Mountain may have been the place where Tony proposed, but for Keri, it has extra significance. “Sometimes before her chemo, Tony or her parents would ask how she wanted to spend the day,” Jenna wrote on her blog. “If she felt up to it, she would tell them to drive her to Disneyland. If she was having a good day, she would go on Space Mountain. The year before, they road Space hundreds of times, but this year. . . her ride count was somewhere around 15. It was enough to keep her spirits up.”
This one year anniversary was not only a celebration of matrimony between two loving people, but a celebration of courage and overcoming obstacles. . . as well as a celebration of a cancer-free diagnosis against all odds. So where better to celebrate it than Disneyland, where their marriage was not only born, but fortified in the face of tragedy? And thanks to Jenna, they took a new round of photos to mark the occasion.
“One day, a little while before her one year anniversary with Tony, Keri reached out to me and said she thought she was going to get a [cancer-free] diagnosis,” Jenna explained on her blog. Keri asked if there was a way Jenna could take a photograph of her with a cancer-free sign at Disneyland. “The Tomorrowland team really stepped forward, and [they] let us take a few photos for a mini anniversary session at Space Mountain,” Jenna explained.
Tony and Keri were given the opportunity to celebrate their one year wedding anniversary, and the crew at Space Mountain even “threw in a little extra pixie dust for the two,” according to Jenna.
“They’re wonderful people who deserve nothing but happiness, and I’m looking forward to seeing them begin their happily ever after,” Jenna told us.
We love this story SO much, and though Tony and Keri have had to go through so much during their first year alone, we are so happy they’ve been given the “happily ever after” they truly deserve—and the photos to match. Happy anniversary!
(Images via Jenna Henderson)