Art Imitiates Life For Cancer Survivor
It's the tearjerker that has moviegoers weeping.
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort play teenage cancer patients who fall in love in The Fault in Our Stars.
But for Lynsie Mae Conradi, watching the film is like seeing her own life play out on the silver screen.
"I'm expecting to cry from beginning to end," said Conradi.
Like the character in the movie, Conradi was just a teen when she was diagnosed with Leukemia.
At the Ronald McDonald House in Yakima, Washington, 19-year-old Lynsie met a young man named Rodney.
"He came rolling up in his wheel chair, and he just started asking me, 'Who are you? How old are you?'" said Conradi.
Once a strapping Navy corpsman, the 20 year-old's body was riddled with bone cancer. Their own real-life battle with cancer drew them closer together.
"She makes me feel like nothing bad is going to happen," said Rodney before his death.
"We would just comfort each other and tell each other everything was going to be ok," explained Conradi.
In The Fault in Our Stars, the boy steals the girl's heart with his wit and charm. The same goes for Rodney and Lynsie. And just like the film, their friendship blossomed into love.
"My story is the real life The Fault in Our Stars." said Conradi.
Sadly, Rodney's life was slipping away — a life he wanted more than anything to share with Conradi.
"She's who I love." said Rodney. "She's the love of my life."
On Valentine's Day, 2012, Rodney proposed.
"He was like 'Before I die I have to marry you,'" said Conradi.
Despite intense pain, Rodney strode into the hospital's makeshift wedding chapel and wheeled in the IV pump that was keeping him alive.
"No matter how sick he was he was gonna show me how much he loved me," said Conradi.
Conradi lovingly wiped Rodney's face, which was profusely sweating - not from wedding day jitters, but from the cancer treatment.
The vows were especially poignant.
"If he passed away and I didn't marry him I'd regret it the rest of my life," said Conradi.
Rodney's family was overjoyed.
Conradi comforted Rodney to the end. On March 10th, just 23 days after their wedding, Rodney passed away.
"I miss Rodney more than anything," said Conradi. "I would go to Hell back over and over again just to tell him I love him one more time."
Today, Conradi is taking one day at time. Her cancer is in remission and she receives daily treatments from her mom, Donna, who is grateful for the love her daughter shared with Rodney.
"I think those two kids were blessed to find each other when they did," said Donna Conradi. "They both loved each other so much."
And watching The Fault in Our Stars, Conradi found comfort in the movie that, in so many ways, mirror's her own love story.
"Rodney is 120% the love of my life and always will be," said Conradi.