SPARTA, Mich. - A woman in Sparta is walking down the aisle a little sooner than planned. She moved up her wedding date after being diagnosed with cancer last month.
Arika Herin had every intention to take a year or two to plan out the perfect big day. But, after a recent cancer diagnosis her plans changed quickly. Now, the community is coming together to make it happen.
"The first words out of his mouth were 'thyroid cancer' and 'lymphoma', so I was terrified," says Arika Herin, the bride-to-be.
It's the diagnosis that changed everything for Herin, coming just before Christmas. It not only impacted her health, but also her walk down the aisle with her fiance', Chad.
"Everything is going to change. I'm going to have a massive incision that'll run just below the ear on the right side, straight down almost to my collar bone across the front of my neck and back up to the left side. I didn't want that weighing down our wedding pictures and letting that be our memory," says Herin.
With a thyroid removal surgery scheduled for January 23rd, she's moving up her wedding day to January 20th.
"There's a possibility for chemo and radiation afterwards. So we're just like lets do this before everything changes," says Herin.With little time to prepare, she shared her story on social media, asking for help making her wedding a reality.
"People offering a dress, offering to help decorate, offering decorations, offering photography. Anything. Anything and everything," Herin says.
The outpouring not only helping with the wedding, but also lifting her spirits.
"It's kind of actually what's been giving me strength to get through this time until my surgery. I can't even put words to it. It's incredible," Herin adds.
Arika's wedding date is set for a week from Saturday, just three days before her surgery. The couple is still in need of a few items. If you want to help you can go to their GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/wed-juarez-before-surgery or donate items by contacting the bride on her Facebook page: Arika Elizabeth Schmidt.