SC woman proposes to boyfriend fighting cancer: ‘I asked..before it was too late’

SC woman proposes to boyfriend fighting cancer: ‘I asked..before it was too late’
Eric and Justice enjoy a fun moment at the beach and (pictured right) cut the cake following their commitment ceremony.

CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - A young South Carolina couple shared in a ceremony where they allowed their love to speak for itself before one of them passed away after a battle with cancer.

The Medical University of South Carolina shared the love story of Eric Mason, 19, and Justice Dunlap, 18. The couple met through mutual friends on Facebook and their romance bloomed from there. Eric's health issues did not stop their blossoming love.

Mason's "aggressive" form of lymphoma and relapse after a stem cell transplant forced his residence in hospice care at the Hollings Cancer Center.

“He was kind and generous and had a wonderful strength during even the toughest times of his treatment," Moore said.

The couple had been together a year when she received a call that he was sick. Justice said she never thought about breaking up with Mason.

Eric Mason and Justice Dunlap shared a special commitment ceremony at MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center (Source: Justice Dunlap)
Eric Mason and Justice Dunlap shared a special commitment ceremony at MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center (Source: Justice Dunlap)

"We were perfect together. He was my other half," Justice said.

She proposed to Mason just a few days before their ceremony. She now wants to pursue pharmacy to help others.

Eric Mason and Justice Dunlap shared a special commitment ceremony at MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center (Source: Justice Dunlap)
Eric Mason and Justice Dunlap shared a special commitment ceremony at MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center (Source: Justice Dunlap)

“I asked him if he wanted to do this before it was too late,” Justice said. "We had known we wanted to be together in the eyes of God for a long time.”

It's there that the nurses who were in charge of his care took charge of making a bucket list item happen for Eric.

Unit nurse Carrie Moore and other nurses and the center's chaplain rallied together to give the young couple a special moment - their union together - forever.

Moore called Mason a "kind and generous and had a wonderful strength during even the toughest times of his treatment.”

On March 14, the team transformed their waiting room overlooking the Charleston Harbour into a wedding chapel.

Eric Mason and Justice Dunlap shared a special commitment ceremony at MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center (Source: Justice Dunlap)
Eric Mason and Justice Dunlap shared a special commitment ceremony at MUSC's Hollings Cancer Center (Source: Justice Dunlap)

"This spiritual ritual, looking out over the Charleston Harbor, was a reminder to everyone present that life is for living — to the end and to the fullest," Hannah Coyne, the palliative care chaplain at Hollings Cancer Center, said.

Justice walked down the aisle to John Mayer's "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" - a song Eric picked out - and committed themselves to one another.

Coyne said she was especially touched by the love and joy the couple shared with their families. She called it a "holy moment."

“I believe it’s really important for our patients’ dignity," Coyne said. "It’s also a good reminder for us as caregivers that each of our patients has a life and a story before ever stepping into our doors, and part of our job is to honor that.

Faculty and staff, some of whom came in on their day off, enjoy celebrating Eric and Justice’s special moment. (Source: Medical University of South Carolina)
Faculty and staff, some of whom came in on their day off, enjoy celebrating Eric and Justice’s special moment. (Source: Medical University of South Carolina)

Sadly, Eric passed away on March 18, one week after the ceremony, but the nurses there will never forget.

“It was smiles. It was [a] strength," Moore said. "It was ...love.”

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