All young couples inevitably experience a rough patch or two in their relationships, but for high school sweethearts Lucas D’Onofrio and Tamara Bruzzo, that obstacle was more of a minefield. When Bruzzo began experiencing chest pain just before Valentine’s Day, she went to a local emergency room for an X-ray and CT scan. D’Onofrio had bought tickets for a romantic dinner and a movie, but when the tests showed a suspicious mass, the couple spent the holiday in the hospital, instead.
When the news finally came — on D’Onofrio’s birthday — that his girlfriend had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, it was like he’d been hit by a sledgehammer. “It was a huge shocker for me; soul-crushing, really,” he recalls. “My mind just totally froze. I didn’t know how to react.”