When wedding photographer Jerry Tomko survived stomach cancer in 2007 thanks to the excellent care he received at Thomas Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, he wanted to give back to those who had saved his life. And so it was that he asked the center to find a cancer patient or survivor who needed some nice wedding pictures.
For quite a while, the center didn’t have any ideas who Tomko could help. Then along came social worker and mother of four Melinda Muniz.
Muniz thought little of it when she began to feel tired every day last spring. After all, she was juggling a demanding career and four children as well as spending time with longtime love Christopher Jones, who is the father of her two younger children.
But then a tooth infection lead to dizziness, then fever, and she went to the emergency room for help. Doctors took a blood sample and discovered leukemia.
Late in may, she was transferred to Thomas Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center in dire condition. Jones, a maintenance worker,quit night school to take care of the children and Muniz started around the clock chemotherapy. The couple had been engaged since 2009, but decided they didn’t want to wait anymore. With Muniz too weak to even make it to the hospital chapel, they were married in her room. Pictures were taken, but Muniz describes them as ‘grim.’
Thanks to some amazing medical advances and great care, Muniz managed to beat her cancer. Using her twin sister as a half match bone marrow donor, she’s doing better. Muniz and Jones decided to have a more traditional ceremony – hopefully with happier pictures.
An oncologist remembered Tomko’s offer and told him Muniz’s story… and a wedding album was born.
In addition to the photographs, Tomko provided the happy couple with a bouquet and limo. As you can see above, Muniz and Jones have beautiful photographs to contrast with the grim hospital room ones.
May they have many years to share their joy and their love.