When doctors told 19-year-old Dustin Snyder they could no longer treat his rare form of cancer, he knew he had just days to live.
So the Plant City, Florida, teen put his affairs in order. No. 1 on his list: ask his high school sweetheart, Sierra Siverio, to marry him.
He proposed on Thursday over dinner as he presented her with roses and waited for her to answer.
She said yes.
Siverio spent Friday afternoon shopping with her bridesmaids for her big day.
The couple plan to marry Sunday at the Big Red Barn, a farmers’ market with a private venue near their home in Valrico in Hillsborough County. All the trappings have been donated by the community, The Washington Post reported.
“I love her. She’s been there for me through this whole process,” Snyder told the Post on Friday. “She means the world to me. I wouldn’t be able to get through any of this without her.”
Snyder and Siverio's love story began in the sixth grade.
“Definitely my first love,” Siverio told USA Today’s News-Press.
They lost touch after junior high when they were sent to different school districts but reunited as high school seniors after Siverio spotted Snyder working at a Steak ’n Shake.
According to his family, Snyder has been battling cancer since June 2016, a day before his 18th birthday. Doctors discovered synovial sarcoma in his left lung.
Synovial sarcoma is a slow-growing cancer that attacks the soft tissues near large joints and is sometimes misdiagnosed as arthritis or bursitis, according to the Mayo Clinic. Snyder, who underwent chemo and radiation, was told he was cancer-free in January 2017, his mother, Cassandra Fondahn, told the Post.
But by August, doctors found three more spots, which were removed through surgery, and Snyder seemed to rally. By Christmas, the cancer returned and started to attack his stomach and pelvic area. He was given weeks to live.
Snyder is back at home, with visits from hospice and a pain-medication pump attached to his heart. His sister Brittany created a GoFund Me page to raise money for the wedding and to take care of the cost “when the day comes for Dustin to be at rest.”
By Saturday afternoon the campaign had raised $30,000 toward a $40,000 goal.
Siverio, Snyder said, has been by his side through it all.
“She was there with me since the beginning, and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else,” he told the News-Press.
“If two people love each other and they want to be together for the rest of their lives, why can’t they be?” Siverio added.
Their forever together begins Sunday with the wedding and reception, the family hopes.
“He got a small burst of energy since this whole wedding thing came about. We’re really hoping that Sunday gets pulled off for him,” his mother told the Post.
“As a mom, I want him to be happy during his final days — whatever that is that makes him happy,” Fondahn added. “She’s going to get the wedding of her dreams to the man she loves, and he’s going to be at peace knowing he has his soul mate with him when he goes.”