On Oct. 4, Carl Peyton Williams III, 62, was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal lung cancer and told that he didn’t have long to live. But Williams couldn’t bear leaving the world without getting married to the love of his life; so with a little help from friends and family, he and Ruth Ann Terry, 67, were married in an ambulance wedding outside of the Cobb County Magistrate Court in Georgia last Tuesday.
"This is a miracle," Williams' daughter, Tracy Hazen, told the Associated Press. "He went downhill so fast. It's nice for him to know he can leave with a sense of humanity, it isn't all bad. That there are still good people out there."
Due to his worsening condition, Williams has been under 24-hour hospice care for the past week, so his family was understandably concerned about moving him in his condition. "Moving him around at this late stage could mean the end of things," Williams' sister, Christina, told the Associated Press. He was also diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia.
Williams refused to let his terminal diagnosis stand in the way of marrying the woman he immediately fell in love with after meeting her online seven years ago. On Tuesday morning, an EMS team transported Williams from his home to the courthouse where the couple exchanged vows in the back of an ambulance. Chaplin Ron Daniel, who approved the marriage the day before, oversaw the ceremony.
"Everything just went beautifully," Daniel told the Associated Press. "We just made it as quick and easy as we could for them."
According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women in the United States. There are currently around 373,489 Americans living with lung cancer, and half of all people who are diagnosed will die within a year. Newly diagnosed cases are expected to reach upwards of 230,000 in 2013, accounting for 14 percent of all cancer diagnoses.