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UPDATE: Make-a-Wish Wedding Creates Cherished Memories

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UPDATE:11:00 PM Wednesday: 

The day before Thanksgiving, 18-year-old newlywed, Leslie Rivera started a clinical trial she's hoping will tackle her aggressive form of leukemia.  Doctors say it's a ten dose procedure of a drug called Moxitumomab, which targets a molecule found only in leukemia cells.  

Dr. Weili Sun from the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles says, "the infusion went in, no problem at all.  We're going to do another bone marrow test to see how it stands," after two to three weeks, and "typically we'll know if it's working in one to two months."

Just last month, doctors told Leslie she only had two weeks to live.  Faced with the dire news, her one wish was to marry her high school sweetheart, Daniel Mendez, who has not left her side since she was diagnosed.

Mendez says, "she'd tell me, oh I know this is hard and you probably aren't attracted to me anymore, but that wasn't the case."

With Daniel's support, Leslie's spark and inner strength helped her surpass her doctor's prognosis.  She walked down the aisle just last week, in a fairytale wedding made possible by Make-a-Wish Foundation. Celebrity wedding planner David Tutera helped plan the event with more than $300,000 in donated goods and services to make Leslie's special day magical. 

Now the newlyweds are focusing, once again, on fighting her illness.  Leslie says she's never given up hope and says to Daniel, "I hope all our dreams can come true and we can have kids. I'm grateful and thankful you're in my life."


They promised till death did them part, but no one knows quite when that might be. The couple who married last week at Rancho Los Lomas Resort in Silverado, California are facing unique challenges.

Leslie Rivera met Daniel Mendez at an anti-racism event at school last October and they quickly began dating. It was barely six months before she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia.  Even thought she managed to graduate from high school, she spent much of her last semester in the hospital, with Daniel by her side.

When Leslie was referred to Make-a-wish this Fall, her wish was simply to marry her best friend. The fantasy of the "Twilight" inspired ceremony came later, as celebrity wedding planner David Tutera conspired to create a magical wedding based on Leslie's dream to have a natural wedding inspired by the one in the movie, but with custom touches.

In the end, vendors came together to contribute about $300,000 in goods and services to create a dream wedding in a bare two weeks time.

Despite her illness, Leslie looked radiant in her gown, but the couple sat during the ceremony rather than standing as they said their vows.

Tutera surprised the couple with live butterflies, which as he said, represented change, transformation and beauty.

Then the bride and her father danced to "Que Me Alcance La Vida" by Sin Bandera.  The song roughly translates as "I ask God that life will be long enough."


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