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A Brain Tumor Took Her Wedding Memories, But The Community Stepped Up To Make New Ones

11November 2021

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — For most of us, photos are reminders. For Jennifer Schmidt, photos are proof.

“I don’t remember walking down the aisle, saying our vows, I don’t remember the details,” she said.

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As much as she’d like to remember her 2012 wedding day, there’s a lot over the past few years the 33-year-old Cottage Grove mom would like to forget.

“I was having some headaches and having some pressure in my head and my one eye started to stick out a little bit,” she said.

It wasn’t cancer, but it was serious: a brain tumor wrapped around the artery behind her eye.

“We didn’t know if it was spreading anywhere else, we didn’t know if I was going to be blind, we didn’t know what was gonna happen,” Schmidt said.

What happened was the mom to two young sons had to have a risky and life-changing surgery.

With tears in her eyes, she said: “That was probably the hardest part, because I do a lot for them, so to not know was really hard.”

It was also hard on her high school sweetheart-turned husband, but the Army veteran was no stranger to a battle.

“It wasn’t much of a thought, it was OK, what do you need from me,” Tony Schmidt said.

His wife was going to need patience.

When she awoke from surgery, she recognized Tony and her boys.

Her love for them was still there, but her memories with them were gone.

“It’s some of the most important parts of your life, seeing your kids grow, their wedding day, when they were born, it’s hard not to have that,” she said.

Jennifer Schmidt also lost much of her day-to-day function.

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“We don’t typically ask for help but we have had to,” she said.

Kiley Benson heard about their plight.

“They are really grateful in receiving, but they are humble as well,” she said.

With the help of the nonprofit Be Kind 2 People and Best Christmas Ever, they were gifted something they could have never imagined.

“I just threw it out there one day,” Benson said. “What if we just redid their wedding?”

And that is exactly what they did.

Nine years after their first wedding, the Schmidts got a second chance. Vendors donated for a dress, venue, flowers, cake and brand-new diamond studs.

“To be able to have another wedding and create awesome memories with our kids and family and friends, it’s really exciting,” Tony Schmidt said.

And for his wife, she was overjoyed to know that her partner was sticking with her no matter what.

“For us to be able to tell each other again in front of our friends and family ‘I love you, I’m gonna be with you forever’ is just a true blessing to be able to do that,” Jennifer Schmidt said.

And after they sealed the deal, another surprise came. Kiley announced they were donating a honeymoon to Iceland, celebrating a love that could not be erased.

“I hope if people can see our story, that that will help them to keep fighting, too,” Jennifer Schmidt said. “There’s so much light at the end. So if I could touch somebody I hope that gets across.”

Jennifer’s long-term memory has improved, so as you heard her say: She will remember this wedding.

If you’d like to help cover the fundraising for the wedding or support Be Kind 2 People, click here.

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