Doctors Tell Teen She Might Not Survive After Leukemia Ravages Her Body, But They Never Give Up. 7 Years Later, She Makes A Surprise Visit With Amazing News


Seven years after a young woman nearly died of leukemia as a teenager, she returned to the hospital where her life was saved to take her wedding photos. Keep reading for the full story!


Kierstynn Foster Rozema was just 16 years old when doctors revealed that she had very aggressive leukemia.

As a high school junior in Michigan, Rozema went from stressing out about her grades and prom to worrying about surviving through the year.

During that heartbreaking time in her life, Rozema relied on her family, friends, and the staff at Spectrum Health Helen De Vos Children’s Hospital to help keep her happy and healthy.

“It was pretty surreal,” she said, according to PEOPLE. “You don’t ever anticipate anything like that happening in your own life.”

By the time Rozema and her mom made it to the hospital to get her checked out, the teen’s condition was already very serious.

“They told my mom that was the last possible day that she could have brought me in with a fighting chance,” she said. “Ninety-nine percent of my body was saturated with cancer cells.”

While receiving chemotherapy at the hospital, Rozema became extremely close with the doctors, nurses, and other staff.

“I won homecoming queen my senior year and all of those special moments I shared with them,” she said. “They were the reason it was able to happen.”

Now 22, Rozema decided that she wanted to share a very special day with the staff at the hospital where she was eventually declared cancer-free.

So, when her wedding day arrived, Rozema and her now-husband, Dan, gathered up their entire wedding party and drove to the hospital to take priceless photos.

“He was really glad we did it,” she said. “He has seen how much it shaped who I am. He met me in the midst of my last year of chemo, and to be there and to be able to thank the people that made it possible was really powerful for him.”

Those working at the hospital that day ended up being just as excited as Rozema was about the photo shoot.

“It’s very gratifying and very humbling. It was a day filled with tears and a lot of hugs and happiness,” Dr. James Fahner, the division chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at Helen DeVos, told PEOPLE.

“That is the greatest accomplishment for us as a healthcare team to know these families have come through this journey and are able to live normal healthy lives,” he added. “That’s the most wonderful tribute.”

Although she still has to go in for annual check-ups, Rozema, who now works at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, feels amazing.

“You get so connected to the people that walk through these situations with you, so I knew I’d want to go to work there and it wasn’t even a question in my mind that I’d go back on my wedding day,” she said.

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