Young and in love, 25-year-old Jillian Hanson of New Jersey certainly wasn’t expecting, nor was she prepared, to hear that she had stage 2 breast cancer. Understanding that her treatment plan would be tough, she gave her boyfriend of three years, Max Allegretti, an “out.” Rather than allow the relationship to progress, Hanson told him he was free to go.
Allegretti stayed, choosing to disregard Hanson’s arguments that her treatment would be difficult. He also answered her clearly when she said she wanted to know upfront if he thought her treatment was something he couldn’t handle, rather than find out later, while he was ill. Allegretti stayed by her side for the next two years, while she was undergoing intensive chemotherapy that took its toll on Hanson’s body.
The couple didn’t go out much, but Allegretti kept Hanson’s spirits up as much as possible while sitting and watching movies. He brought her little trinkets to cheer her up, and repeatedly reminded her that she was beautiful, despite the changes to her appearance.
February 28, 2018, was Hanson’s last day of chemotherapy. As every cancer patient can attest, the final treatment is a thing to celebrate. And Allegretti had a plan to make it even more special. He proposed marriage to Hanson at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where she was receiving treatment, while family and caregivers looked on. The touching moment was caught on video.
Hanson accepted his proposal, of course. But the couple was worried about funding a wedding, particularly since Hanson still faced additional tests, treatments, and therapy.
Fortunately, several months later some local wedding planners and vendors offered to help. Bianca, a close friend of Hanson, happened to meet Lauren Grech of LLG Events and told her Hanson and Allegretti’s unique love story. Grech, a New York City-based wedding planner was moved by the story and decided to provide the could with her services at no charge.
That was Hanson’s first surprise. Grech and her staff shared the story further with their vendors, who began lining up to offer their services as well, also free of charge. The Sterling Ballroom provided the venue, Susan Shek handled the photography and Kenneth Winston gifted Hanson with the wedding dress of her dreams.
The couple wed on Oct. 18, 2019, in a beautiful ceremony in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, as family and friends looked on. The wedding occurred just a little more than two years after Hanson’s original diagnosis.
Looking back at their special day a month later, the college sweethearts agreed that it was a perfect day.