1. This is Leslie Rivera, an 18-year-old from Murrieta, Calif.
2. This is Daniel Mendez, Leslie’s boyfriend. They met while working together for an anti-racism group at their high school, and have been dating since last October.
3. This past April, at the age of 17, Leslie was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite the illness, she graduated from her high school in May.
4. But her condition was aggressive, and she had to spend the next several months in a hospital. To pass the time, Leslie watched the TV shows Unveiled and My Fair Wedding, both starring nationally renown wedding planner David Tutera.
5. All the while, her boyfriend Daniel stood loyally by her side through her battle with the illness.
6. When 17-year-old Leslie was referred to Make-A-Wish, it took no time for her to decide on a wish: to marry Daniel, her companion and best friend.
7. Leslie’s condition was serious, so Make-A-Wish knew their time was limited and they worked quickly. She was fitted for a wedding dress last week.
8. Through Make-A-Wish, David Tutera was brought on board to make Leslie’s wish come true. After days of preparation, David surprised Leslie by personally showing up at her dress fitting.
10. Leslie and David laughed and chatted through the fitting.
12. The wedding took place on Nov. 21 at Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado (Orange County, Calif.).
13. Leslie had requested a rustic, nature-themed wedding, modeled after the wedding in the Twilight series.
14. Tutera granted all of Leslie’s wishes, including a photo booth and chocolate-covered strawberries.
15. Sarah Pizzaruso, a Make-A-Wish representative, told BuzzFeed over email that the wedding went off without a hitch.
16. “[Leslie] spent the day before the wedding in the hospital getting transfusions,” Sarah said. “Yesterday showed the true ‘power of a wish,’ as we call it.”
17. “Watching Leslie absolutely radiate in front of her guests, greeting people with a smile, staring so lovingly at her new husband as they toasted the crowd — you would have never known the challenges she is going through.”
18. “And watching Daniel care for her, assisting her walking, holding her hands during the vows — there is no question these two are meant to be together.”
19. “That’s the goal of Make-A-Wish,” Sarah said, “to give kids a chance to fulfill their truest wish… And to give their families a chance to focus on something other than doctors, hospitals and needles.”
20. “Leslie, Daniel and their families had time to celebrate, laugh, and dance — something that really hasn’t been in the plans for the last several months.”
21. “Honestly, the last week has been challenging,” Sarah said. As of this morning, Leslie is currently on hospice.
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