The wife of a young man who was battling terminal cancer reveals how he fulfilled his dying wish to marry his partner, less than a week after getting engaged.
Jonathon Bustamante, 20, from Corona, California, tragically died on November 29, 2020 in a hospice where he was being kept comfortable.
He was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue – a week after his 17th birthday in September 2017.
Together forever: Terminal cancer patient Jonathon Bustamante, 20, fulfilled his dying wish of marrying his girlfriend Kristina Hill, 19, last month, two weeks before he passed away
Emotional: The couple, from California, had been together for more than three years when they tied the knot in a stunning backyard ceremony
Heartbreak: Kristina asked Jonathon to marry her after he revealed to her that doctors had given him a terminal diagnosis, and he immediately said yes
Dream: The ceremony took place on November 11 in Jonathon’s backyard, and he was brought down the aisle by his father
Battle: Jonathon was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of soft tissue cancer, in September 17, just days after he turned 17
At the time of diagnosis, the cancer was only in his right arm and he spent three years in and out of remission, undergoing various treatments and surgeries.
However, in October 2020, the young man was given the devastating news that his cancer is terminal – having spread to his bones and the rest of his body.
Jonathon, an artist, became paralyzed from the chest down due to tumors growing on his right hip and pancreas.
However, the young man managed to fulfill a heartfelt dream and tied the knot with his partner, Kristina Hill, 19, from Orange County, a month ago.
‘On October 31, 2020, Jonathon broke the news to me of his recent diagnosis and told me what was going to happen,’ said Kristina.
‘Later that night, we were laying in bed crying and talking to each other about the last three years and what we’ve been through together, and how our future together in this lifetime was just erased.
Connection: Kristina and Jonathon were first introduced online by a mutual friend, back in June 2017, months before he was diagnosed with cancer
Love at first sight: ‘Since the night we met and he accidentally told me he loved me, we both always knew we were going to get married,’ Kristina recalled
Support: Kristina was by her partner’s side throughout his cancer battle, joining him in the hospital whenever he was undergoing surgery or chemotherapy
Struggle: At the time of Jonathon’s diagnosis, his cancer was only in his right arm and he spent three years in and out of remission, undergoing various treatments and surgeries
Devastating: In October 2020, the young man was given the horrific news that his cancer is terminal – having spread to his bones and the rest of his body
‘And with no hesitation, I asked him to marry me, and he said yes.
‘Since the night we met and he accidentally told me he loved me, we both always knew we were going to get married in every lifetime and we wanted to get married while he’s still here.’
The couple were introduced to each other by a mutual friend online in June 2017, hit it off and began texting every day.
One month later, on July 15, they met for the first time at The Agenda music festival in Long Beach where sparks flew – and they quickly began dating.
They were together for three years and three months, and walked down the aisle in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by family and friends on November 11 in Jonathon’s backyard.
The pair worked with the ‘Make-A-Wish’ foundation to organize their wedding in less than a week, with the charity taking care of everything from the wedding cake and catering to decorations and officiates.
Helping hand: The couple worked with the Make-A-Wish foundation to get their wedding organized in less than two weeks
True love: The charity took care of everything from the wedding cake and catering to decorations and officiates so that Jonathon and Kristina could just focus on one another
Surprise: ‘We were astounded, there were flowers and plants everywhere; plants for Jon and flowers for me,’ Kristina recalled
Strength: Jon was in a wheelchair for the wedding, after being left paralyzed rom the waist down as a result of tumors in his right hip and on his pancreas
Kristina said: ‘Until the morning of the wedding, we had no clue what to expect about decorations or food or anything.
‘We were astounded, there were flowers and plants everywhere; plants for Jon and flowers for me.
‘His whole backyard was transformed from being a place we sat together every morning to a whole magical outdoor wedding venue.
‘I wore my mom’s wedding dress and while we weren’t planning on doing rings, we both surprised each other on the day with one.’
The wedding day was filled with intense emotion and love from guests and was more perfect than the couple could ever have imagined.
Kristina added: ‘The wedding plan for the day was pretty standard; ceremony, reception, lunch, photos, speeches, cake and finally, our first dance to Lovesong by The Cure.
Dream: Kristina revealed that the couple weren’t planning to exchange rings, but they both surprised the other with a ring on their wedding day
Tribute: Jon passed away on November 29 at a hospice where he was being cared for
‘I love you’: Kristina has vowed that Jon will live on through her
‘Honestly, I think the ceremony was the most beautiful part of the wedding for everyone. His little sister and cousins came out alongside his three dogs with the rings and as flower girls.
‘Jonathon came down the aisle with his dad pushing him in his wheelchair next to his mom and big brother.
‘Finally, I came out with my mom and dad by my side. I just remember the sun was in our face and we just kept staring at each other.
‘Nothing else existed at those moments but him, I genuinely didn’t pay attention to anything else.
‘It was real and raw for everyone there. You felt how much love and emotion everyone had throughout the ceremony.
Unforgettable: ‘It was real and raw for everyone there. You felt how much love and emotion everyone had throughout the ceremony,’ Kristina said of their special day
Celebration: The overjoyed bride said she is incredibly grateful that the couple was given the chance to share such a special occasion with their nearest and dearest
Family: Kristina was accompanied down the aisle by her parents, and she wore her mother’s wedding dress for her special day
Memory: In honor of Jonathon, who is pictured with his family at the wedding, Kristina is going to work with kids with cancer
‘The energy was heavy and very bright, even though everyone was crying.
‘I think it hit everyone how much love Jon and I truly share for each other and everyone there.
‘As for me, I promised in my vows I would live through him.
‘With our souls intertwined I am going to do everything and go everywhere we planned. I’m going to go to school and help as many people as I can.
‘I’m going to work with kids with cancer and spend my days spreading the word out about childhood cancer awareness just like his mom has been doing these past couple of years.
‘Jonathon will never be gone, he’s changed every single life of every person who knows him and of him.
‘He’s going to change lives every single day, whether he is here or not.’