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Generous Oncology Nurse Gifts Her Unused Wedding Dress To Breast Cancer Patient


When Jessica Leja’s wedding was called off this spring, she wasn’t sure what to do. An oncology nurse from Illinois, Leja decided to take to social media and find someone to gift her beautiful, unused wedding dress to. But not just anyone. Someone whose situation hit close to home.

Tragedy Turned Heartwarming Story

Two years ago, Leja lost her father to kidney cancer. She cared for him during his treatment, and soon after began her career in oncology. “Oncology nursing is my passion, my devotion. It will always hold a special place in my heart for my family and my patients who have become my family,” she said.

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After her wedding was called off, she knew she had to give back and donate her dress to a cancer patient or survivor. “My heroes are cancer patients: the fighters, the survivors and the taken,” Leja said. “The admiration I have for them is beyond words. It would really mean a whole lot to me to be able to find [a patient to give it to].”

The Gorgeous Gown

The beautiful, $1,800 Stella York wedding dress features white and ivory lace. Of course, Leja could have sold it. But, she wanted to do something even better.

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“It’s really beautiful,” Leja said. “[But] this dress wasn’t made for me. It was made for someone else. And I have to find her.”

Finding “The One”

Toni Roberts, a recently engaged 31-year-old mom from Tennessee, was receiving breast cancer treatment. Roberts wrote Leja a letter after discovering her wedding gown story, telling Leja how she tries to be a voice of compassion and helps inspire other cancer patients. Immediately after reading Roberts’ letter, Leja knew she was the one. “I remember reading it and, to be honest, I knew right away this is my girl. Then I said I have to wait and give others a chance,” Leja said. “Toni sent me pictures, told me her story. I got goosebumps. I was crying. We’re so similar, it’s crazy.”

Facebook / Toni Roberts

After being chosen to receive the wedding dress, Roberts said the donation is more than just a gift. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship. “She knows what I’m going through. She went through it with her father and her patients on a daily basis,” Roberts said.

Check out this heartwarming video of Leja telling Roberts she was chosen to receive the beautiful gown.

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