Maine Community Rallies Around Bride Battling Life-Threatening Illness

No cancer diagnosis was going to stop this couple from marrying each other

Photo: Courtesy of Brittney Ross

The love between Brittney Ross and Jared Brewer only grew stronger after finding out she had cancer.

Ross, 28, was diagnosed with small cell cervical cancer, an aggressive and life-threatening illness, in May 2014. At the time, she was working as a police dispatcher in Portland, Maine, but she had previously been working as a corrections officer, which is how she met her husband, according to WCSH.

The couple, who have been dating since April 2012, didn’t let the news of the diagnosis stop them from getting married earlier this month.

“The cancer only opened our eyes to how short life can be and how we shouldn t waste any moments,” Ross wrote on her blog. “So we decided not to.”

Brewer, 31, proposed to Ross on June 28, 2014, and they were set to marry in August, but her condition worsened, causing them to push back the wedding to Feb. 27.

As their wedding date gets closer, they weren’t certain that Ross would make it, so they decided to wed in the chapel of Maine Medical Center, where Ross was getting treated, on Feb. 14. They also invited 180 close family and friends to their reception on Feb. 27, their original wedding date.

“She still wanted to have a big party to celebrate life and see everybody for probably the last time, unfortunately,” Brewer tells PEOPLE.

Many of the people set to attend their wedding bash have helped the young couple spend as much time as they can together. People in the police and fire departments donated enough of their sick days to her so that Ross can continue to get paid for as long as a year-and-a-half. The Corrections Department, where Brewer works as an Assault Team Leader and Correctional Sergeant, have been supportive of him taking time off to care for his now wife.

Bret Smith, 44, Brewer’s co-worker, organized a booster campaign to sell t-shirts to help raise money for the couple. They have sold 223 shirts, which raised $3,020. Brewer’s sister, Janessa Brewer, also created a GoFundMe page, which has already raised $4,450 of the group’s $10,000 goal.

“I started this to support their dream,” Smith tells PEOPLE. “They’re going through such a terrible time, but wanted to make sure they could still get married.”

Ross and Brewer are taking it day by day, but their main goal right now is to get Ross to the wedding Friday.

“We’re both overwhelmed by how many people love us and have come together to show their support,” Brewer said. “Brittney’s especially blown away that people want to buy a shirt with her name on it and walk around.”

“There is no ‘cure’. We don’t accept this. We will fight together for our miracle. And in the mean time We will get married. On Feb. 27, 2015, I get to marry my very best friend and I couldn’t be happier!” Ross wrote on her blog.

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