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What Defines Us

October 16, 2013

I received a note last night that I could not ignore. A new friend of mine, Jove, an event and wedding planner based in Brooklyn, went on vacation to visit his friend in California. He had briefly mentioned her situation to me as he prepared to be with Cherise over the next few days. There was urgency and passion when he spoke and his love for her was evident.

Cherise is battling cancer.

Cherise + Erik: What Defines Us

While I am not sure what “stage four, non-hodgkins lymphoma” is, I know the treatments she is going through are vigorous, draining and demoralizing. She is beginning 2 intense rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a more intense third round where they will take blood and harvest her stem cells to transplant for the fourth round, which is, if you can believe, the most intense form of chemotherapy there is.

And while I enjoyed studying all about cancer for a bit, the truth is cancer does not define this girl. And the first mention of her name, Jove didn’t say, “She has cancer.” No, he said…

“Cherise is engaged to Erik!”

This is the sliver of her life that is defining her right now. This “second” on her long life line is pulling her through. In the big picture, engagements are so short and yet so beautiful, it is something we should all hold very close. Planning this most important day of your life, stressing about what dress to wear, choosing your flowers and your cake.

Erik and Cherise plan to marry on Friday, May 30th, 2014 in the Bay area.

Cherise + Erik: What Defines Us

Throughout their engagement, they, together, have been through more than a lifetime of hardships. Erik proposed in Disneyland, to his princess, in front of the castle. Jove told us the story of her excitement and her tears. About her dreams coming true. Five months later, in January, Cherise ended up in ICU with collapsed lungs, ventilators, chest tubes, and kidney failure which led to dialysis. Erik sat with her, through everything. When she become mobile again, she had to re-learn how to sit-up, how to walk, how to use muscles that she had used for decades.

Cherise + Erik: What Defines Us

Cherise + Erik: What Defines Us

Cherise is determined. 

Especially with Erik by her side. Physical therapy lead her to her first steps with a platform walker, then to a regular walker. After 100 days of hard work, she walked 350 feet and was able to go home. The residual lymphoma is what is being treated now. And together, with Erik, they will plan a wedding and beat cancer.

Cherise + Erik: What Defines Us

Focusing on what defines Cherise and Erik, their engagement is their highlight. Jove is working incredibly hard to make this dream a reality for the beautiful couple. The venue has been selected, the dress has been bought.

But we need more help. Here is what you can do:

  1. First and foremost, pray for this beautiful lady and her fiance; for their happiness and strength.
  2. If you know a vendor in the San Francisco area (specifically a photographer, videographer, baker or florist — but we know much more goes into weddings) that you think would offer a low rate or free services, please comment with their information below so we can reach out to them.  (Don’t care to comment? Email me!)
  3. Spread the word. Cherise and Erik are making the best of their time in the hospital by bringing the happiness of wedding planning to the oncology unit. It would be amazing if we could share in that happiness as well.


Congratulations Cherise and Erik! We are all rooting for you!

Cherise + Erik: What Defines Us

12 Comments leave one →
  1. JoElla permalink
    October 16, 2013 9:10 pm

    The cupcake shope hayward, CA dont know them but their cupcakes are awesome!! They also to cakes as well

  2. Howard S. permalink
    October 17, 2013 3:48 pm

    My oldest son Erik, and Cherise thank in advance anyone that can help us give them the wedding of their dreams. Erik is a truck driver and works long exhausting hours yet he finds the strength within to always have a smile on and visit Cherise at the hospital frequently.
    God Bless them and their love for each other.

  3. Caitlin permalink
    October 17, 2013 5:44 pm

    I work for a Make-Up Boutique in Danville and we would love to do complimentary makeup for the wedding. Please email me!

    • October 17, 2013 9:42 pm

      Caitlin — that is such a lovely thing! And definitely necessary for a wedding. Would you mind emailing me in the link in the blog? I’m not sure which salon you are with in the area and would love to get further information on your work. All my best — Alex

      • Caitlin permalink
        October 18, 2013 1:35 am is our website you can email us at or call us 925 7363900 The Rouge Kiss And Make-Up

  4. October 18, 2013 12:05 am

    I am a photographer! You can find my work by searching ThruTheEyesOfEmily.

  5. Bree Tipper (formerly Watson). permalink
    October 25, 2013 10:28 am

    First off, congratulations!! Cherise, I am so inspired by you. I have seen what cancer does to one firsthand, through my mother. I’m so sorry someone who is so full of life and love has to go through this.

    I bake everything from cakes to french pastry. I am happy to make your cake/ dessert bar at cost of the materials.

    My sister in law and I are in the beginning of establishing an event coordination business, and we would be happy to do everything from day of coordination to whatever else you might need.

    I also know of a photographer who is very reasonable: check out Art Whims Photography on Facebook. Even though she is based in Washignton, she has extremely competitive prices over CA-based photographers. Just tell her Bree sent you.

  6. Bree permalink
    October 25, 2013 4:11 pm

    I am a baker. I will provide a cake and dessert bar for cost of the materials. Let me know if you are interested, and I will send you a portfolio of my work.

    I also know a very reasonable photographer. Even though she is based in WA, her prices are more competitive than most CA photographers I know. Check her out on Facebook:


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