The elderly woman was diagnosed with cancer 2 months after meeting her boyfriend. They won the battle against cancer together and got married later.
Sherri Shaw-James and Bill James had their first date amid an incoming nor'easter in North Carolina. They unknowingly weathered the storm while enjoying lunch and a movie that extended to dinner and dessert. As they bonded through hours of conversation, the storm intensified, closing roads and prompting James to ensure Shaw's safety for the night. Despite the turbulent weather, their relationship blossomed. Two months into dating, the couple came into another storm; Sherri faced a stage three colorectal cancer diagnosis and contemplated breaking up to focus on treatment, but Bill steadfastly stood by her side. She said to CBS News, "I had known that he had wanted to travel. So, I pretty much told him, 'Time to break up. You can go travel and I'm going to go deal with cancer.' And he refused to let me do that." In 2021, when she decided to undergo treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, Bill refused to let her go alone and even bought a new SUV for their journey together.
After arriving at MD Anderson, Sherri faced the prospect of grueling treatment, but her determination to fight remained strong. Dr. Emma Holliday and Dr. Van Morris, her main doctors, provided crucial support and prepared her for the challenges ahead with medications and care. Sherri's love story with Bill unfolded during her treatment, and he proved to be a devoted partner, driving her to the hospital every morning and waiting for her outside. Despite the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bill finally had the chance to meet Dr. Holliday at the end of Sherri's treatment. He shared how he finally met the doctor, saying, "And at the end, when we were just wrapping up there, they allowed me to come in. And I showed my appreciation by giving her a dozen roses... And I hugged her and whispered in her ear, 'You saved my girl'."
It’s a lovely weekend in North Carolina! Honored to attend the wedding of a dear patient with my favorite partner in cancer fighting, @VanMorrisMD— Emma B. Holliday MD (@DrEmmaHolliday) June 11, 2023
Sometimes this job is so heavy, but other times it uplifts me more than I deserve ❤️ pic.twitter.com/VMWQQVw8a8
After months of treatment, Sherri and Bill returned to North Carolina, cancer-free and overflowing with love. They decided to get married, and Sherri wanted her doctors to have a special place in her love story. She said, "I realized that they were such a part of me being able to marry my best friend that I wanted them there. I wanted them to celebrate. But more than that, I wanted them both to escort me down the aisle so that they could actually give me to Bill because they were the hands of fate that saved me and allowed me Time to marry Bill." Dr. Morris acknowledged the emotional rollercoaster of being an oncology doctor, with intense lows and highs. Being part of Sherri's journey during her cancer diagnosis and now witnessing her wedding day exemplified one of those incredible highs, which he found an absolute privilege to share. Dr. Holliday reflected on the rarity of oncologists being invited to weddings compared to attending funerals, making this opportunity to participate in Sherri and James' wedding all the more special and beautiful. Last month, Sherri and Bill exchanged vows in North Carolina, surrounded by their children, grandchildren, friends, and two exceptional guests who flew in from Texas.