Bucket list wedding: Teen battling terminal cancer gets married after celebrating early graduation, prom
CHINO HILLS, Calif. - A Chino Hills teenager is checking items off of her bucket list after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and one of the things she wanted most was to get married to the man she loves.
Addison Conely, 17, married Sebastian Snitily, 19, in a wedding ceremony in San Diego Wednesday.
"They met almost seven years ago on a houseboat. It was love at first sight. She loved him. He was a little hesitant for a minute, but he definitely liked her and they've been the best of friends," said Staci Berry-Conely, Addison's stepmother.
The two exchanged vows in front of their friends and family in an intimate ceremony followed by a reception. The Conelys said they always envisioned this day for their daughter.
"We are completely overjoyed. This is the love of her life, and it is our job as parents to support her in every wish that she has and with cancer being a big part of our lives now, we just live every day to the fullest," said Staci.
Christopher said he was excited to see his daughter happy.
"It's a very joyous moment. It's a hard moment. It's a little earlier than we all expected but with the situation in our life, it's the right thing to do right now," said Christopher.
Snitily's father served as the officiant for the wedding.
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The wedding was one of the top items on Addison's bucket list.
"The wedding was originally scheduled for next May until her cancer came back so in two weeks, my beautiful wife and her friends put this together, so we could be here today [Wednesday]," said Christopher.
Addison has acute myeloid leukemia. The 17-year-old was told in mid-March that her cancer had returned 72 days after a bone marrow transplant/transfusion surgery.
She was first diagnosed in June 2021.
"I didn’t think that it was real," said Addison. "A couple months later, then it kind of hit me that this is actually real life."
Addison has been receiving treatments while also finishing high school. Doctors have told Addison that she may not live much longer, though she is undergoing new chemotherapy treatment.
"By the grace of God, the chemo is working right now but the doctor is quick to tell us it could change at any moment, but we are taking this for what it is right now. We're just doing everything we can to save our baby," said Staci.
The Chino Valley community held a special cap and gown ceremony for a high school senior last week, three months ahead of Chino Valley High's regular ceremony. On Saturday, she and a group of her friends had an early prom at Newport Beach. Her family has also helped her accomplish other bucket list items.
"A hot air balloon ride, we did that. We were able to go to Las Vegas. She wanted to go zip-lining, so we did that. She wanted to go off-roading, so we did that. She wanted a puppy, and we did that," said Staci.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Girl with terminal cancer celebrates early graduation, prom
Christopher and Staci said Addison still wants to go to Hawaii and Bora Bora, but her top bucket list item is complete.
"It was her dream [to get married]. It was on her bucket list. When we first decided to do her bucket list, it was the first thing she said, get married, so this is a big deal," said Christopher.
Rachel Peniche, a San Diego Chapter Board Member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was at the wedding, serving as a planner, and also spreading awareness about leukemia.
"We really work to get patients access to the care that they need so we advocate for more access to treatment, and research. There are many types of blood cancer. Addison's form, AML, is a very rare form of leukemia and we just want there to be more access for people, more cures and more treatments," said Peniche.
Peniche also stressed the importance of blood donations.
"That is literally their [cancer patients] lifeline, blood, so if people can donate [it is necessary]. I know there was a shortage because of Covid and people weren't giving but it's safe now," said Peniche.
Addison and her family are starting a foundation that donates colorful blankets to cancer patients in hospitals. A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Addison and her family with the mission.
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