Courtesy Mark Shelton(NEW YORK) — It was only days after Mark Shelton and his wife Lisa got married that she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
The two met in high school but went their separate ways. Mark, 54, enlisted in the Army while Lisa, 57, enrolled in college. They each went on to start their own families, with Mark having a son, now 23, and Lisa having a daughter, now 19.
Ten years ago, however, their friendship reignited before they fell in love.
“I believe that it was always the plan for Mark and [I] to be together,” Lisa told ABC News. “We went different directions…but God gets his way and I thank him that he brought us back together and right at the time when I needed Mark the most.”
In fact, Lisa’s terminal diagnosis came three days after they wed in 2014.
During Lisa’s battle with cancer, the couple often does what they call “check-ins.” It was during one of those conversations last year that Mark asked his wife, “If I could give you anything, what do you want to do? Do you want to go to Italy? Do you want to go to Hawaii? What’s on your bucket list?”
He was surprised when she replied: “Well, I’m content but if I could have anything, I’d just regret not seeing you perform the music of Elvis Presley the way you did in high school — with the jumpsuit and all that.”
Mark said he was on board immediately but there was on thing standing in his way: He was 400 pounds.
“I said, ‘OK, I won’t do it heavy,'” Mark recalled. “I can’t do that to you…and I can’t do that to honor the King of Rock and Roll.”
So he gave himself a year to shed the pounds. Less than a year later he was 200 pounds thinner.
Mark took that year to plan the performance of a lifetime, hiring a band and renting out Haskell Free Library and Opera House in Derby Line, Vermont. After rehearsing with the band for four months, Mark sold tickets to his performance with the proceeds going to Lisa’s cancer treatments. On Saturday, Mark embodied Presley, who died in 1977, at two sold-out shows.
He even surprised his wife by pulling her up onstage to sing “Surrender” to her.
Lisa enjoyed every minute of it.
“It was totally amazing. It was a dream come true,” she told ABC News. “I couldn’t take the smile off of my face last night. Just watching it, it was such a thrill.”
“I have never been loved like this before,” Lisa continued. “I just thank God every day — you’re going to make me cry — that this man has married me and he loves me. I feel totally secure in his love and no matter what happens he’ll always be there with me. And that gives me peace.”
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