Jerry and Susan Stros have been a "we" for most of their lives — but when they were both diagnosed with terminal cancer, they were forced to spend a week apart to undergo treatment.
When they reunited, the heartbreaking and heartwarming moment was captured on camera.
The footage shows Susie walking to Jerry, who takes her into his arms and holds her as they weep.
“They [doctors] said, 'Spend your time with your wife. Go home and be with your wife,'" their youngest son Jason told InsideEdition.com. "My dad walked in that door, and my mom hadn’t been able to walk in over a week — and she got up and walked to him."
The video, which Jason Stros shared to Facebook, has since been viewed more than 10,000 times.
“I had no idea this was going to spread nationwide and have people inspired," he said. "I’ve gotten letters [that say] 'I’m going to hold my husband a little tight.' And, 'Even though I’m divorced, I’m gonna go tell her I love her.' Their love is like a magnet — people are drawn to them."
Jason's parents have been married for 51 years, joined at the hip since they met as a cheerleader and an athlete in River Rouge High School in Michigan.
They raised four children and worked hard— him in newspaper printing, her in medical services — before retiring and settling into an involved and busy life in Acworth, Georgia, where they dedicate their time to a local retirement and assisted living facility.
"They’ve touched so many people’s lives," Jason said. "So this has hit home for a lot of people."
The couple was planning to go on vacation to Marco Island in Florida at the end of February, but first Jerry insisted Susie get a lingering chest cold checked out.
Their doctor prescribed Susie an antibiotic, but when she showed no signs of improving, Jerry brought her to urgent care.
"Thirty minutes later they’re rushing her in an ambulance to a hospital," Jason said. "Six liters of fluid were drained from her lungs... then they found on one of her lungs a mass, a tumor the size of a football."
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 small cell carcinoma, a rare form of cancer that was found in her lungs, liver, lymph nodes and chest cavities. "Terminal — no cure," her son said.
Susie underwent surgery and spent five days on breathing tubes before she was given the all-clear to be released to in-home hospice care, which she and her family were preparing for when tragedy struck again.
"My father and my brother Jim were sharing coffee with my mom, excited about the next day... and my dad fell over on top of my brother and had a massive seizure," Jason said.
It took doctors four minutes to bring back Jerry’s heartbeat after the fall, which had also broken his back. He underwent surgery, and doctors found the same type of cancer as his wife in his brain and lung.
"I collapsed," Jason said. "There was nothing more I could take."
Jerry was brought to the ICU, but first a compassionate nurse brought him to his wife.
“They said their goodbyes. He said, 'Wait for me at the gates, Susie.' It was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my entire life and it rocked the hospital," Jason said. "The next morning, my mom came home. I didn’t think my dad would."
But he did. On March 4, Jerry was released from the hospital after doctors determined he could receive out-patient care. That's when their reunion was captured on camera and shared to Facebook.
Now their supporters are far reaching and close by, with messages of hope and love pouring into a GoFundMe page created to offset Jerry and Susie’s medical expenses.
"I will continue to keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. May God’s love shine upon both of you," one donor wrote on the page, which as of Friday had raised $6,235 of their $25,000 goal.
"You both are an inspiration to so many. God bless," another supporter posted.
To visit their GoFundMe page, click here.
Countless members of the community have also shown their support, determined to see their favorite couple and show them how much they are appreciated.
"They had been retired for many years, and decided to get a job at this beautiful new retirement home, Dogwood Forest," Jason said. "She was running the front. Dad was a chauffeur for them, driving around the residents in a bus. Well [Thursday] the bus came to my mom and dad, full of their favorite patients. People who can barely get out of bed, they asked to come. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house."
And through it all, Jerry and Susie have continued to fight to get through each day.
"We’re this determined type of family... and we are not going down," Jason said. "I look at it like, you know the Rocky movies? It’s Rocky versus the Russian. They’re Rocky and this cancer is the Russian. Round one, not today — we won. Round two, we’re gonna make it. I told my mom and dad, ‘You guys have always been our Mickey, in the corner. Today we’re your Mickey. And you gotta keep fighting.’"
He added: "We have a bell in the house. We ring it — ‘Ding, ding, let’s go.' And at the end of the day it rings again. Stros wins."