Young Man Marries High School Sweetheart Days After Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Isabella Cristobal
Courtesy of Isabella Cristobal
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The wedding of Sergio Soto and Isabella Cristobal touched the hearts of people everywhere when the ceremony was broadcast on local news stations in San Francisco and shared across social media last week.

Soto, 20, who was born in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, exchanged vows with his bride just days after doctors told him he only had weeks to live. He was first diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 15.

“We just wanted to show people going through the same thing that I am that nothing is impossible if you really love each other,” Soto told Remezcla during an interview last week. “I want people to know there is hope and to stay strong and keep fighting no matter what.”

During their wedding ceremony, Soto, who is a student at Los Medanos College northeast of San Francisco, expressed his love for his bride and said, “I hope we can spend our life together for as long as we can.”

The couple met five years ago at a mutual friend’s quinceañera. They were high school sweethearts, although they went to different schools. A few weeks after they met, Soto found out he was sick. The two talked about whether they should stay in a relationship. They’ve been together ever since.

“It was a really big decision to make at 15,” Cristobal, 20, told Remezcla. “But I saw him going through something life-threatening and he was staying so positive. You don’t see that from a lot of people. That really stood out to me and really touched my heart. His condition is what brought us together.”

Cristobal said they already considered themselves husband and wife before they said their ‘I dos.’ “We already felt married in a way because of all the care we’ve been giving one another,” Cristobal said. “The wedding was a day where we could show our love to everyone.”

That love is something that has kept Soto fighting every day, so that he can spend as much time as possible with the woman he loves. “She really supports me and takes care of me,” he said. “When she’s with me at the hospital, it makes me happy. Everything is more fun. It really distracts me from all the bad things happening. She’s always there to cheer me up.”

It was during one of those hospital visits in January 2020 when Soto popped the big question. Cristobal stepped away from the hospital room for a few minutes and when she returned, Soto was standing there with a ring in hand ready to propose.

Cristobal said right now they’re still on a “honeymoon high” and have felt really happy despite Soto’s prognosis. In the next couple of weeks, she and some of Soto’s friends are taking him to a nearby beach.

“We’re really taking it day by day,” Cristobal said. “Right now, we’re really leaning on each other and hoping to plan as many adventures as we can.”