After 24 long years, this couple has renewed their vows to celebrate the gift of living and being together through a life-saving transplant.
The whole concept of marriage is to commit to your spouse and promise to stand by them through the thick and thin of life. While the better part of life is often enchanting for newlywed couples, the mid and latter years see the “worse” that come into the picture. Ill health, financial tensions and other issues put the relationship to the test. At such times, a person wants nothing more than the spouse they love with all their heart to be by their side. CBC News shared the story of Bonita and Dex Pelley, who stood for the better and worse and renewed their vows after 24 years with a heartwarming twist.
Dex suffered from a genetic disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). It is a genetic disease that affects the heart muscle, mainly in the right ventricle, per Cedars Sinai. His mother and sister had unfortunately passed away due to the same condition and he and his siblings have been diagnosed with the same. Dex’s symptoms started small and the first time he had a cardiac arrest, he wasn’t quite aware that it could be life-threatening. “It’s the gene telling the heart to stop,” Dex explained. The couple then mentioned they needed a heart for the transplant and could only hope for the best from thereon. “At first, we didn't even know if he'd even make it on the list," said Bonita, referring to the waitlist for a heart transplant.
"I remember fighting tooth and nail,” she added. With the required specifications, it took them 6 months to find a matching donor. "After waiting months, all the doctors came in and they said, 'You don't have months to wait anymore, you only have weeks.’ It depleted us. It devastated us," Bonita expressed. “Every time I hear the helicopter coming, I'm thinking that's going to be a heart, and you know, you just keep hanging in there,” she added. Through it all, Bonita stuck by her spouse and became a source of hope for him. She mentioned that their faith together as a couple got them through what she recalls as the “toughest times.” Finally, when Dex got his donor, he decided not to take life for granted and be grateful for every little thing.
"He proposed to me before the transplant and he said, 'If I get through this, marry me again.' And here we are, and this is 24 years later and we are so grateful,” Bonita said triumphantly. The couple renewed their vows successfully amid their loved ones wearing the same wedding attire they had on 24 years ago to relive the priceless moment. "The whole experience gave me a different outlook on a lot of things, the transplant system," Dex said with overwhelming gratitude. "He gave me life in so many different ways," Dex said. "And not only that they gave him life, but they gave my husband back, you know," Bonita added. "Even with a change of heart, there was no change of heart,” their friend Derek Diamond sang. "New heart, new start," Bonita gleefully said before adding, “But he’s got the same old wife!”