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Colorado Springs couple planning to marry despite incurable cancer diagnosis

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Despite a diagnosis of incurable cancer, a Colorado Springs couple is moving forward with their plans to get married in June and hopes their story can inspire others to live life to the fullest.

Brian Van Way and Catherine Hammond

Catherine Hammond and Brian Van Way met in 2016 and knew instantly each other was "The One."

"Brian was very different from men that I had dated before, much deeper and more philosophical, and had a very similar worldview that came from a place of peace and understanding in a way that really was new and exciting for me," said Catherine.

"I was in right away," said Brian. "I made whatever excuse I could to try to be around her as quickly as possible, as often as possible.”

In 2019, just a few years into their relationship, doctors discovered cancer in Brian's abdomen after a tumor burst.

The tumors were removed when the doctors went in to repair Brian's small intestine. After that, the couple enjoyed two years cancer-free.

But then in the summer of 2021, a CT scan showed 12 tumors had popped back up in that area, and unfortunately, this type of sarcoma has no cure.

"It's called mesenteric desmoid tumor," said Brian. "It's pretty rare. I think there's about 2,000 people a year in the United States that get it."

The news was a devastating and terrifying blow for the couple. But they also say it's given them a whole new outlook on life.

"It's quite a heavy lift to be given, most likely, the reason that you're going to die and potentially the time frame in which you have to live," said Brian. "There's something a little bit terrifying about that, and on the other side of that, there's something also beautiful about it. There's something that brings out the colors in life and makes it possible to cherish things and adore things in a way that you that I couldn’t prior to getting that diagnosis."

"The shorter our lives are, the more important it is to live them," said Catherine. "What we most want, is life together. So we are diving all in for every single moment that we can possibly have together."

Brian Van Way and Catherine Hammond

Part of living their lives fully includes diving headfirst into marriage next month.

"For me, our wedding really will be a celebration of wholeness, of wholeness and hope," said Catherine. "The official intertwining of our lives that comes with a wedding, brings a sense of wholeness to our relationship. We know that our lives are full and whole, no matter how long we have together. It feels like a very hopeful endeavor to get married."

Catherine and Brian hope their story inspires others to not take any days for granted and to do what you love, with who you love -- while you can.

"Catherine and I have a diagnosis and we've discovered through that diagnosis our marriage and our relationship will most likely be a lot shorter than we had hoped for," said Brian. "But everyone has a diagnosis. They just don't know it yet. We're all going to pass away. So take advantage of the time that you have.”

Catherine has written a book about this cancer journey and other difficult moments throughout her life called 'Hope(less).'

Catherine Hammond's book Hope(less)

She says it's a testament to what she's discovered about the true nature of hope and where to find it, no matter your circumstances or what's going on in the world.

"I wrote this book called 'Hope(less)' for all of the people in the world who have lives that have ups and downs and twists and turns just like ours does," said Catherine. "The book is for you if you've ever been through anything. We have misinterpreted the word 'hope.' Even the dictionary definition as we think about it, we have gotten it wrong. That has created a sense of anxiety and unease for most of us in our everyday lives. Really defining hope for yourself can change your entire world and especially when you go through things."

Catherine's book 'Hope(less)' can be found here.

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Mallory Anderson

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