NEW ERA, Mich.-- A young Spring Lake couple celebrated their wedding on Sunday with close friends and family while the groom is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Brent and Breanna Malkowski are high school sweethearts and both admit that when they first met they had no idea they'd end up together.
“I’m still surprising doctors," Brent tells FOX 17. "They’re surprised that I’m able to walk and talk still.”
Brent's mother passed away when he was 12-years-old and a year later, he was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a rare condition that causes tumors to form in his brain.
It wasn't until years later when Brent was working as a corrections officer in Texas and two inmates noticed that he had been slurring his speech and forgetting things that he realized things had gotten much more serious.
“Then I got checked and turns out it was glioblastoma grade 4 which is the most aggressive type of brain cancer you can get," Brent says.
Brent and Breanna moved to Dallas to be closer to his doctors, who said his cancer was only supposed to get worse or remain the same. However, thanks to a device called Optune which uses alternating electric field therapy to control cell division, his tumor shrunk 30 percent.
“He’s the strongest person I know," Breanna says.
Now they're living in West Michigan to be closer to Breanna's parents, who were at their wedding ceremony on Sunday to walk their youngest daughter down the aisle at Lewis Farms in New Era.
“It’s been tough for both of them," Breanna's father Greg Malkowski says." Brent through all this thing has become part of the family and closer and it’s been nice that we’ve been able to be there for him.”
Breanna's mother Lori Malkowski says it's their positive attitude that's kept the young couple strong throughout the years.
“Their strength and their love, I mean it’s just incredible. It deserves to be celebrated," Lori says.
As for their plans for the future, Breanna says she'd like to buy a home and start a family. Brent says he hopes to become a Michigan state trooper if his health improves.