A month after Mike Brandon proposed to his girlfriend Kate in 2014, the British couple got devastating news. Brandon, who'd been suffering from night sweats and other ailments, was diagnosed with a particularly severe form of leukemia. He was only 29.
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The doctors were pessimistic but Kate didn't give up. She got a campaign going to find Mike a stem cell donor--and succeeded. And even though there were plenty of complications, transplants, rounds of chemo, bouts of pneumonia, and more, Mike was well enough a year later to get married to Kate.
Then came a relapse earlier this year, a few short months after their wedding. This time the doctors really gave up. "We were told that it was time to plan our last days together, but Kate point blank refused. We would fight on, and we have," Mike wrote on the fundraising Facebook page.
Thanks to Kate's persistence--and the power of social media--the couple was able to raise the $600,000 they needed to start an experimental treatment at the University of Pennsylvania. The procedure, known as CAR T-Cell therapy, uses a patient's own immune system to target cancer cells.
In May, the couple flew from England to Philadelphia to start the treatment. Just a few days ago, they learned that a biopsy of Mike's bone marrow--that had been filled with leukemia cells--was now cancer-free. He was in remission.
And even though the couple knows they still have some tough days ahead, for now they're celebrating their best wedding gift ever.
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Edie Falco: Breast cancer, 2004 Falco kept her treatment a secret from her Sopranos co-stars. “Surviving cancer has a way of making you re-prioritize," she's said. In her case, it meant starting a family.
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