An area couple is continuing to move forward with their wedding plans despite learning of the groom's Stage IV terminal cancer diagnosis.
James Horton and Laura Olmstead planned to get married last month in Gatlinburg, however days before their big day Horton woke up paralyzed below the waist.
It was quickly determined his paralysis was caused by a tumor on his spinal cord. He underwent surgery the following day at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“Cancer had eaten away at the some of the outside of the spinal column,” explained Horton. “It had deteriorated the vertebra in the area and it had just finally given way. We spent the Thursday we were supposed to be married in the ICU at Vanderbilt.”
Horton, who has lived with cancer for three years, has spent the last two weeks at Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital working to regain his strength and learning how to function from a wheelchair.
“Every day, no matter what the situation he is always pushing forward, always has a positive attitude,” Olmstead told Nashville's News 2.
Prior to waking up paralyzed last moth, Horton had outlived the time doctors had given him and he thought he was getting better.
“Regardless of my diagnosis, I am still alive right now and I am going to enjoy every day like it might be my last,” said Horton.
The couple has rescheduled their wedding for the end of the month.
“We love each other,” said Olmstead. “We knew from the beginning that we wanted to get married and I don't care if he has cancer.”
Horton added he is not a quitter but he understands how short life can be.
“It is serious. I mean, one day this will probably take my life, but it is not today and I don't plan for it to be tomorrow and until that time comes, I am going to keep doing what I am doing.”
The pair is trying to plan for their future as best as they can.
Horton does not have insurance after being dropped from TennCare. An account to help cover rising medical expenses and their wedding has been set up.