‘They just aren’t waiting for everything to be perfect to be happy’: Cancer patient with months to live marries high school sweetheart


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It is the kind of love story they make movies about. An Idaho cancer patient, told by doctors she has less than four months to live, married her high school sweetheart Thursday in Memphis.

Gracie and Seth Madsen (photos courtesy Chris Hope)

Gracie and Seth Madsen tied the knot at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Kirby Whitten and held a sunset reception with family and friends at the Landing above the Mississippi River.

“It was wonderful, it was a dream come true for both of them,” said Gracie’s mother Tiffany Jeppsen.

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Twenty-year-old Gracie was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early March and came to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis a few weeks later to take part in a clinical trial.

Her parents said Gracie and Seth dated in high school, were apart for about three years while they did separate church service missions out of the country, and in January, we’re talking about marriage.

“She came home on the 29th of March, was diagnosed on the first, and they’ve been pretty much together ever since,’ said David Jeppsen. “They are an amazing couple.”

Gracie’s parent’s said it has been a lot of fun helping the couple realize their dream.

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“It was beautiful, and this is beautiful today,” said Tiffany Jeppsen. ‘They just aren’t waiting until everything is perfect to be happy. So, that’s the plan.”

Gracie and Seth were going to have a low-key ceremony, but her parents said her social worker at St. Jude stepped in and took over as their wedding planner.

Cheryl Ferguson said it became a community project. The Chris Hope Foundation, Spreading Sunshine, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s Share the Care, and Cake is Art all helped with the wedding details.

“She is trying to do the best that she can do to have the greatest quality of life that she can, and that includes getting married to the man of her dreams, and so we wanted to help her with that desire,” said Ferguson.

Gracie’s parent’s said their daughter will continue her treatment at St. Jude.

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