Iowa Army veteran, 20, marries his girlfriend hours before dying of rare liver cancer

May 9, 2019  16:21

An Iowa Army veteran married his girlfriend just five hours before he passed away from a rare form of liver cancer.

Tristin Laue, 20, of Waverly, joined the US Army National Guard in July 2016 before being medically discharged in April 2018 following his diagnosis

Last month, doctors told the family that Laue likely only had weeks to live.

But Laue had one final wish: to marry his girlfriend, Tianna Hargrafen, reported KWWL.

Laue was diagnosed with fibrolamellar carcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer, after returning home following his ten-week boot camp, Hargrafen told FOX TV stations.

The cancer typically occurs in young adults around age 25 who are otherwise healthy.

Many have no signs or symptoms until the disease is advanced, including abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Fibrolamellar carcinoma occurs in about one in 5 million people in the general population, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

Studies have shown that when the cancer can be surgically resected, the five-year survival rates range from 51 percent to 70 percent.

However, for those whose is disease is unresectable, the median survival is around 14 months.

After leaving the National Guard, Laue enrolled at the University of Northern Iowa to get his degree in engineering design.

Hargrafen told FOX that they started dating while Laue was completing his final round of immunotherapy.

However, he soon started suffering from complications - the details of which remain unclear.

Laue proposed to Tianna Hargrafen on April 20. That same week, doctors delivered the news that Laue had weeks to live.

'He said he wanted to make sure I wanted it because he was in rough shape and wanted to be fair to me,' Hargrafen said.

'And I said of course I wanted to marry him. I always told him it wasn't that easy to get rid of me so I'd always be there.'

The two families, and their community, spent 48 hours ordering bridal party dresses, booking a photographer and caterers and pitching a tent in Laue's parents' backyard.

According to KWWL, about 60 guests showed up to the wedding on April 27.

'He's the love of my life,' Hargrafen told the station.

'[My mom] said: 'Some people don't get what you two had in the amount of time. Like they'll be together for years and still not have the same connection that you guys did'.'

Five hours after the ceremony, Laue passed away.

Funeral services were held at Crosspoint Church in Waverly on last week.

'Make sure you tell people you love them because you never know when you won't be able to,' Hargrafen told KWWL.

A GoFundMe page was set up by Laue's former classmates to raise money for a memorial bench in his honor.

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