Announcing our 2019 Pro Bono Wedding of the Year!
It’s an exciting day for LLG Events, as Jillian, a 26-year-old breast cancer survivor, and her fiancé Max, have been selected as our 2019 pro bono Wedding of the Year couple! And now it’s time to start planning!
"When I was diagnosed, I gave him an ‘out.’ But he told me that he would never leave my side, and he never has,” said Jillian.
What stood out to us as Jillian told her story of survival was not only the strength she had to battle this disease, but the rock she had to lean on - her fiancé Max. Max proposed to Jillian on her last day of chemotherapy at Sloan Kettering (see the heartwarming video here!).
At LLG Events, we offer one Pro-Bono wedding a year, where our wedding planning services are offered free to a couple who put their own needs aside to assist others and focus on a community in need. Instead of worrying about herself, Jillian has been spending her time helping other women and building a network of breast cancer survivors who need love and support during their time of need.
Read their amazing love story below as told by Jillian Hanson herself:
“Max and I met in college our Senior Year. I was looking to be more social on my campus and saw a sign on someone’s door looking for teammates for a dodgeball tournament team. I was signing the whiteboard on their door when this incredibly handsome guy and his roommate walked up behind me. It turns out that it was their team and their dorm room door. We exchanged numbers so that I could join their team. We instantly became best friends and I did not see him in a romantic way. He was not focused on dating, and I was in a relationship. When I graduated in May 2014, I got a job and moved to Chicago with my boyfriend. Max and I lost touch and were not involved in each others lives anymore.
After a few months, I was no longer dating the same guy, I wanted a career change, and my grandmother was not doing well. I decided to move back home to New Jersey. Max was finishing his last semester of college to graduate in December 2014. I really missed hanging out with him and our other friends Amanda and Matt, who were all still attending our college. (I graduated before them). I knew I was moving back in a few weeks so I decided to give Max a call. When I asked if we could all get together, he inquired about my relationship status. He asked me if he could take me to a movie when I was back in town and the rest is history! We have been together now for 4 years and I love him more everyday.
I knew he was the one after a month of us dating. I never usually move that fast but something about him was different. I was visiting my grandmother in California to say goodbye because she was going to pass soon. She asked me about my love life and asked who I was dating these days. She criticized my boyfriends over the years and asked about my current boyfriend. She asked me if I thought he was the one, and for the first time ever I confidently responded “yes, I do” Max has told me that he knew I was the “the one” because before we started dating we were really good friends and we always had fun together. He always thought that we would make a good couple and that he had never connected with a woman like that before. When we started dating, he said that everything clicked and he knew that he would never find that with anyone else.
Max and I always talked about our future together but getting diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer in July 2017 put a hold on all of our plans. From the moment I was diagnosed, Max, my family and I were in go-mode. I needed to have a mastectomy on my left breast with a sentinel lymph node removal., to test if the cancer had spread out of my breast. They also discussed radiation for after the mastectomy. When I found out that it spread into 2 out of my 5 lymph nodes removed, my treatment course changed. I was told that I had stage 2 breast cancer and needed to get started with treatment right away. They explained that they were able to remove all the cancer from my body, but still needed to undergo treatment to ensure that my cancer did not return. I went through fertility treatments to freeze my eggs, since chemotherapy can lower fertility rates. I also had 16 rounds of chemotherapy for 5 months, plastic surgery, 25 rounds of radiation for 5 weeks, and now I am finishing infusion treatments that I do every three weeks.
Max was my rock through this entire process and continues to be every day. They tell you how sick you get during treatment but no one can really prepare you for any of this. He took care of me everyday and reminded me how beautiful I was even as my hair thinned and fell out, and my skin turned white as a ghost. Max and I did not work for a few months when I first got diagnosed so he would stay over my mother's house in Freehold, NJ to take care of me. Max lived in Andover, NJ which is over an hour away from me and he was always traveling to see me. I worried that this would become too much for him and when I was diagnosed I gave him an “out” He told me he would never leave my side, and he never did. He told me that I was the strongest woman he knew and that this whole experience has made him love me more. This hardship made us grow closer together as a couple and that is exactly why he is my person. He proposed to me on my last day of chemotherapy in front of all my family and friends. Everyone was gathered around in my treatment suite at Sloan Kettering. Everyone knew what was going to happen except for me! Sloan Kettering’s media department got it all on video and I am so grateful that I can have that memory on film for the rest of my life!
Max and I have a blast going to the movies, going bowling and simply just spending time together. Now that we are both employed full time, we have had a lot of catching up to do with saving money and really starting our lives together after cancer. When we don’t have time, or our work schedules don’t line up we always remember to just call to say “I love you”, or text each other to say “have a great day” Max grew up in Argentina, and speaks fluent spanish. He is a bilingual physical education and health teacher in the Newark School District. I work for Beach Bum Tanning as an Area Manager.”
We are beyond thrilled to be able to help Jillian and Max plan the wedding of their dreams and hope you all follow along in their nuptial journey over the next year!
Instagram Handles: LLG Events: @LLGEvents | Jillian: @jilllas | Max: @nuttyprofessorr26