Valerie & Tom: A Love Story

Thirty-two years ago, a mutual friend decided Tom and Valerie had to meet. She invited Valerie to the Fire Department’s St. Patricks Day dance, stating that her husband wouldn’t be able to make it. When Valerie arrived, her friend’s husband was there and it quickly became clear her friend had planned the night as a double date. From that night forward, Tom and Valerie fell further and further in love. They became husband and wife two years after meeting at that dance. Thirty years after they said their vows life has given them many blessings; four daughters, three son-in-laws, and soon to be ten grand children. Although life has brought them many blessings, it has also brought several curve balls.

In 2006, one of their girls was diagnosed with AML Leukemia. Valerie hardly left her side through her treatments. Tom and Valerie quickly realized the strain illness can have on a family. Neither of them were willing to loose another, no matter the outcome, so in the midst of their daughter’s fight for her life, they vowed to recommit to one another. No matter what, they would fight for their marriage, even if they felt like they had no fight left. A few months later, their daughter pulled through. Life seemed to be getting back on track when another daughter fell ill and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. She has endured several hospitalizations, medical trials and surgeries. Then, in 2010, they were celebrating the news that their oldest daughter was pregnant. A few weeks later they found out the babies she was carrying were joined at the chest. She carried them anyway, stating that God would take them when he was ready- and he did when she was 21 weeks along. A few short months later, it was Tom’s turn to walk through the doors of the doctor’s office.

In June of 2011, Tom was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a caner with a high recurrence rate. As Tom was finishing his chemo treatments, his doctor approached him and stated that studies had shown two additional chemo treatments could help hold the recurrence off a little longer. Tom quickly took the opportunity to keep the cancer at bay. After the first treatment, he suffered vision loss in one of his eyes. While it was unfortunate, the odds of it happening to both eyes was slim to none so Tom went ahead with his second chemo treatment. A few days later, the other eye lost most of it’s vision. Since loosing his vision, Tom and Valerie have had to completely redefine how they live their lives. They are discovering their new normal and although it is a huge struggle at times, they couldn’t imagine going through life’s ups and downs with anyone else.
On November 13, 2014 the St. Louis chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding will grant ton and Valerie their wish to say their vows again, surrounded by friends and family to show one another they are in this together and they are going to celebrate their new normal, because they are entering the journey together.


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A very special thank you to all of our vendors for making this wish come true:

Photo:Melissa Vaeth

Florist: Bella Fiori

Dress: Champagne and Lace

Formalwear : Willard’s Formal Wear

Planner: Allison Kate Events

Dessert: Sugar Bot Bakery

Venue and Catering: Ces and Judy’s at Le Chateau

Hair and Makeup:Mane Attraction Salon

DJ:McMusic DJ

Videographer Prefers to Remain Anonymous


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