After Surviving Cancer, She Was Walked Down the Aisle by Her Doctors.
By: Olivia Fang
70-year-old Sheri Shaw-James told The Washington Post that she “wasn’t necessarily looking for romance” when she first met 77-year-old Bill James. Little did she know, soon, she would be walking down the aisle to marry him, hand in hand with the two people that saved her life.
Just two months after Sheri and Bill started dating, Sheri was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. Blindsided by this news, Sheri decided that it was best to break up with Bill, thinking it wouldn’t be fair for him to be burdened with her cancer. To her surprise, Bill adamantly refused to let her deal with it alone, letting her know that he wasn’t “going anywhere” (The Washington Post).
The couple traveled to Houston to receive treatment at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Immediately, the staff got to work, administering radiation and chemotherapy around the clock. The side effects of the treatment left Sheri feeling both nauseous and exhausted, but her unwavering determination refused to let her give in.
Bill continued to stay by Sheri’s side during her treatment, bringing her into the clinic every morning and picking her up in the evening, never leaving until she was ready. Sheri tells CBS News that Bill became a “true partner” during the cancer treatment, and that the two fell in love with each other in the process. At the clinic, Sheri also began to form a bond with her two oncologists, Dr. Emma B. Holliday and Dr. Van Karlyle Morris. Sheri recounted to Washington Post journalist, Cathy Free, that, even at her lowest points, the doctors were “always there to offer encouragement and hope,” becoming partners as they fought the illness alongside one another.
After two grueling months, Sheri was officially deemed cancer-free in June 2021. In January of 2023, Bill proposed, and Sheri enthusiastically said yes. While planning their wedding, Sheri had two very special people in mind to walk her down the aisle. When she asked Dr. Holliday and Dr. Morris, they both agreed, stating that it had been the first time either of them had been invited to a patient’s wedding.
In June 2023, Sheri and Bill got married, with Dr. Morris to Sheri’s right and Dr. Holliday to her left. “I was so honored that they came,” Sheri states. “So honored that they took time out of their schedule to be here for me.”
- Cancer patient marries, walked down the aisle by oncologists at wedding - The Washington Post
- She was diagnosed with cancer two months after she met her boyfriend. Her doctors saw their love story unfold – then played a role in their wedding - CBS News