More than 20 years ago, two kids, a boy and a girl, formed a bond of friendship in a Memphis, Tennessee, hospital where they were both fighting cancer. What they could not have imagined at that time, though, was that they would be back in the same hospital again, years later, not because of any sickness but, rather, to marry each other.
Joel Alsup, 38, and Lindsey Wilkerson Alsup, 37, were wed to one another on Sept. 1 at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, at the place where they first met as kids, and as cancer patients.
Joel was diagnosed with osteosarcoma—a bone tumor—when he was 7 years old, and at age 10, Lindsey was diagnosed with leukemia. They met and became close friends during their stay at St. Jude, but eventually, they lost touch; Joel went off to college in Tennessee, while Lindsey went to Arkansas.
Thankfully, both had survived their ordeals; however, Joel, who had undergone chemo, also had to have his right arm amputated.
Then, as fate would have it, something brought them back together; they eventually ended up working together for the American Lebanese Syrian Associate Charities (ALSAC), a fundraising awareness organization for St. Jude’s, where they met each other once again. When that happened, both knew that their friendship was about to bloom into something more.
“I think we always felt something for each other,” Joel said. “It just took me forever to say something.”
The wedding took place right on the St. Jude campus.
“There were lots of happy tears,” said Joel. “To know that just a few hundred feet from where we said ‘I do’ was literally where our lives were saved meant so much.
“Lindsey’s primary physician at St. Jude did a reading. Our officiant was our chaplain at St. Jude. It was beautiful and amazing to see the people and think of the events that got us to that day.”
Both Joel and Lindsey give the credit to St. Jude for bringing them together.
She added, “I never imagined that my childhood crush and then best friend would ever become my husband. We’ve had the blessing of growing up together, finding a deep and loving friendship that led to finding our forever love in each other. I’m so thankful for every moment with him.”