September 2011, Antoine Gagnon Bouchard, 17, is in low spirits. Just a few days ago, this big guy was selected to join the Champlain College basketball team in Quebec, and he was about to start a career as a high-level athlete. But that day, he was at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal. And the diagnosis is wrong: he suffers from leukemia. “I immediately told my parents that I was going to die,” he recalls.
Transfusions, chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions become his daily life. “I only weighed 62 kg from the height of my 1.98 m. I no longer recognized myself. For months, I holed up in my hospital room watching series”, he confides to us. But the desire to go out, he will find it. His motivation: to meet Stéphanie Guindon, whom he saw on his way home from treatment. She is 16 years old and has also just been admitted to hospital for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But he finds her “super pretty” with her shaved head.
The teenager does everything to meet Stéphanie again, but the young girl keeps him at a distance
But the love at first sight of the young man is not shared. “I’ll never go out with him, he’s green and he’s not even handsome. No, never in my life”, Stéphanie says to her mother when she sees Antoine for the first time in a hospital gown, a pocket of blood in the hand. The teenager does everything to meet her again, but she keeps him at a distance. Treatments then end. And everyone goes home.
In April 2013, Stéphanie, who is training to become a nurse, has to interview a patient as part of her diploma. She thinks back to Antoine, who accepts. “His mother spoke to me more than he did. I said to myself: ‘At least he’s more handsome, but he’s still just as stupid'”, recalls the Quebecer with a smile. In May of the same year, the young woman relapsed and a long hospitalization loomed. She informs Antoine of this and, a few phone calls later, they arrange to have lunch and see each other often.
“During my relapse, Antoine brightened up my days”
Little by little, the magic happens. This time, it’s mutually that they like each other. Every time Stephanie has to undergo treatment, Antoine accompanies her… And he goes to see her every day at the hospital. In July 2013, it was made official. “Antoine is full of charm, attention. During my relapse, he brightened up my days”, recognizes Stéphanie who, now 27, does not forget this difficult period in her life.
Last July, the lovers, now in full health, got married. The one who became Madame Bouchard is now pregnant with a baby boy, whose birth is scheduled for December 25, 2022. A miracle baby conceived without any medical aid… “While we were told it would be almost impossible, rejoices the couple. Life is well done. We have had our misfortunes. But they have allowed us to build our happiness today. “
Antoine Gagnon Bouchard and Stephanie Guindon © FACEBOOK STEPHANIE GUINDON