There are all kinds of love stories and the narrative between Tyyisha Evans, 42, and Corey Cunningham, 45, is truly one for the ages.
After dating for almost seven years, the two decided to wed in a ceremony on February 10 surrounded by family, friends and supporters. The occasion was marked with joy and some pain, as Cunningham is expected to enter into hospice care due to his stage 4 Glioblastoma diagnosis, an aggressive tumor that formulates in the brain.
Cunningham, a former hydroblaster for an oil company, was diagnosed last October after he suffered a seizure while working in the U.S. Virgins Islands. He was transported to a hospital in Puerto Rico and later sent home to Houston’s Methodist Hospital where doctors informed him of the Glioblastoma, estimating that his life expectancy was 15 months.
Evans knew her love would have to go into overdrive.
“It was heartbreaking,” Evans told PEOPLE. “We cried together. I said, ‘You have to fight. I need you to fight.’ And he did.”
The couple met in 2013 on a dating site and surpassed different challenges before Cunningham’s diagnosis. In 2018, Evans was diagnosed with breast cancer and they fought together while she remains in remission.
“I fell in love with his strength,” says Evans. “He’s definitely a man’s man.”
But in January after going through different rounds of treatment including, radiation, chemotherapy and medication‚ an MRI showed Cunningham that the treatment wasn’t working.
Cunningham always knew he wanted to marry Evans and took the opportunity to do so after his doctor asked who would be his medical power of attorney. Cunningham told the physician that he chose Evans and had recently purchased a diamond ring.
Cunningham popped the question through his doctor, who called Evans over the phone. After asking for her hand in marriage for the fifth time, Evans finally said “yes.”
“I was so surprised, she said. “I just didn’t expect him to have that on his mind. I thought this was going to be the last thing he would think about.”
The staff at Houston Methodist flocked to help the couple plan their once in a lifetime affair by ordering a cake, hiring a photographer and decorating the hospital’s chapel. They also decorated the back of Cunningham’s wheelchair to resemble a tuxedo.
“It gave us an opportunity to express the love we have for Mr. Corey,” said nurse manager Eva Boone. “He was a wonderful patient.”
An hour before they were scheduled to walk down the aisle, the couple learned Cunningham was recently approved for hospice care, one of the final stages before he transitions.
“It was overwhelming. Extremely overwhelming,” Evans says. “I cried before I even got in the door of the chapel.”
The love of their family, including their children and grandchildren who attended the ceremony, sustained as they were serenaded and surrounded with eternal love.
Of course there was not a dry eye in the house.
“It was much more than I expected,” Evans said. “I couldn’t believe how many total strangers were in tears on our wedding day.”