Corey Cunningham had a seizure last October when he was working at a refinery in St. Croix, Virgin Islands and was evacuated to a hospital in Puerto Rico. He would later learn that his prognosis was grim – there was no cure for his stage 4 glioblastoma, and with the treatment, his life expectancy would be about 15 months. But Cunningham is determined to live his life to the fullest in the time he left, and that includes marrying his long-time girlfriend Tyyisha Evans before entering hospice care.
"It was heartbreaking," Evans told PEOPLE about the diagnosis. "We cried together. I said, 'You have to fight. You have to fight. "And he did it."
Cunningham had radiation, chemotherapy, and was taking medication for the disease
In January, MRI scans showed that the treatment was not working.
When a palliative care professional asked Cunningham about his medical mandate, he told the doctor that he had bought a diamond ring – and wanted to marry Evans. The doctor called Evans and asked the question immediately.
"I was so surprised," says Evans. "I just didn't expect him to have that in mind. I thought that would be the last thing he would think about."
She is said to have said yes. "Completely strangers were in tears," said Evans. "I fell in love with his strength. He is definitely a man. "
Evans herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2018, which was another obstacle to marriage. A month after she was declared cancer free, Cunningham received his cancer diagnosis.
After Evans accepted his proposal, Cunningham's nurses mobilized wedding planners. "It was like make-a-wish, only with a wedding," she said.
"It gave us the opportunity to express the love we have for Mr. Corey," says nurse manager Eva Boone. "He was a wonderful patient."
"It was overwhelming. Extremely overwhelming, ”says Evans. "I cried before I even got into the chapel door."