FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina —
A terminally ill Fayetteville man is again scratching items off of his bucket list.
We first met Anthony Leonard in February when the “Fill your Bucket List Foundation” sent him to the Duke vs. North Carolina game with his family.
Then Friday, with just days to live, he renewed his vows to his wife of more than a decade.
Twelve years ago, the words “til death do us part, forever and always,” seemed so far away.
For Tony and Christy Leonard, it could be any day now.
“On her (Christy’s) blog she mentioned that she and Tony were supposed to grow old together and renew their vows,” said Brooke Tedder.
Tony is battling a rare stomach cancer, so his hospice nurse Brooke does everything she can to keep him comfortable, even to the point of planning a wedding.
“(Christy’s) first initial reaction was, ‘Brooke, do you think he’s going to make it?'” Tedder said.
As always, a good nurse knows her patients.
“You tell Tony you are renewing your vows Friday, and Tony is going to make it. So here we are,” Tedder said.
They say rain on your wedding day is good luck. It symbolizes cleansing and a second chance. Well, that’s exactly what this meant to Tony’s mother-in-law.
“We lost our son to lung cancer eight years ago, so I said to him that he’s giving me the honor because I’ll never get to pin another boutonniere on my own son,” she said.
In the living room, friends and family stood close, passing around the tissues as they waited for the bride.
Tony, who’s been mostly bed-ridden, stood to his feet to hold his wife’s hand as she sobbed her vows.
“I, Christy, vow to keep you Anthony as my friend and love. Beside me and apart from me. In laughter and in tears,” she said.
Just like 12 years ago, there was a toast.
“How about cheers to eternity? You save me a place, you hear me?” Christy laughed.
There was also a wedding cake and photos. But more than anything, it was about giving new life to these words spoken nearly a decade ago.
“They say in sickness and in health, you know and this truly tested in ‘in sickness and in health, in richer or for poorer,'” Christy said.
And until death do us part, Tony says he’ll keep pressing on.
“I will keep fighting until I can’t fight anymore,” he said.
Even then, Christy says their love will be “forever and always.”
“I just wanted to make sure that he knew no matter what, he’s always going to be the love of my life,” Christy said.
(Copyright ©2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.)