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Allison Carter and Benjamin Warren. Credit: WINK News

Cancer survivor to donate honeymoon fund, wedding gifts to cancer treatment

A childhood cancer survivor is now using her wedding to give back. Instead of wedding gifts Sunday, Sep. 13, Allison Carter is having her guests donate money to the fight against pediatric cancer.

“He told me no matter what, being a cancer survivor, being a cancer patient, he’s going to love me no matter what,” Carter said of her future husband Benjamin Warren. “If it’s for today, tomorrow or forever, that he’ll be right here by my side.”

Allison was diagnosed with leukemia at 18 years old.

“I can remember the exact hospital room number: it was 2802,” Carter said. “I remember my exact nurses, I can still taste that hospital room smell.”

12 years later, her doctors found Ewing’s sarcoma, a tumor in her knee. While in remission, Carter met Warren and they fell in love.

Not in spite of her scars, Warren says, but because of them, and because of her strength.

“She is a fighter, she’s quite the trooper, and that’s the amazing thing is she never let anything bring her down,” he said. “She just keeps smiling—really to help others.”

In recognition of life’s fragility and their love’s endurance, the pair decided to dedicate their wedding, honeymoon fund and all guest donations to the various hospitals and charities that kept 18-year-old Allison Carter alive.

“Without that, I wouldn’t be here today,” Carter said.

The groom is perfectly fine with no gifts or honeymoon. Warren says he’s onboard for anything that gives more men the chance to one day meet a woman like Allison.

“I feel like she’s a….I just think that I’m here to help her and be there for her in her corner when she needs a shoulder to cry, on or a hand to be picked up, and that’s what I’m gonna do for the rest of our lives together,” Warren said. “I am a very lucky guy.”

Carter hopes her story inspires more people to consider giving to children battling cancer, as only four percent of federal funding for cancer research is directed toward forms of the disease in childhood.

The couple’s donations will be going to groups including Candlelighters of Southwest Florida, First Descents and the pediatric oncology ward of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida where Carter was treated.

Throughout September, pediatric cancer survivors from Golisano are shaving the heads of brave community members to raise awareness and money for the pediatric oncology unit. Every Friday morning of the month, the head shavings can be watch live here.  You can also make a donation to Barbara’s Friends.

Established in 1995, Barbara’s Friends provides equipment, staffing and services to support lifesaving cancer care for children from across Southwest Florida at Golisano Children’s Hospital. The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program is the only program of its kind in Southwest Florida and has served over 8,000 patients since opening. No child is denied treatment or turned away as a result of their family’s inability to pay for care.
Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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