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Thursday October 31st, 2013

Posted at 6:18pm

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A day before a potentially life-prolonging surgery, Ron Clarke exchanged vows with his longtime love Thursday at Windsor Regional Hospital, surrounded by family and friends who have supported his fight with brain cancer.

“It’s important that we can share this with our family and friends who have been so supportive and so strong. They’ve meant so much,” Clarke, 51, said before the wedding ceremony with his bride, Stephanie Powell.

Clarke and Powell met on June 13th, 2001. The 13th is also the date in October 1962 when Clarke was born, and the couple had planned to get married on the 13th anniversary of the day they met, next June 13th.

Those plans changed with the devastating news of Clarke’s cancer diagnosis in early July of this year.

Clarke says just after his wife had put their three young kids to bed, the left side of his body went numb and his head slumped to the side. He was immediately rushed from their LaSalle home to hospital. Two days later, diagnostic scans revealed a tumor “the size of a golfball” in Clarke’s head.

On Friday, Clarke will have his third surgery since the diagnosis in an attempt to extend his life. Given the date of the surgery, and without knowing his cognitive abilities following the procedure, Clarke and Powell decided Tuesday night to finally hold their wedding ceremony this week.

Staff and volunteers at the hospital immediately chipped in to help, donating dollars and time to arrange for a cake and decorations.

Clarke said the wedding means even more to him than the hope of restoring mobility in his left leg and left arm. He vowed to continue his battle with cancer in the months to come.

“This whole fight has been about Stephanie and the kids. I’m fighting to stay around for them, as long as I can,” he said.

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