OSWEGO, Ill. (CBS) — Friday is wedding day for Marv Cerwinske and Amanda Riley, but getting there hasn’t been easy.
Cerwinske has serious health problems, and the venue canceled on them just days before the ceremony. But as CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported Thursday, a last-minute save means the wedding is back on.
When Parra met Cerwinske and Riley, they were hauling the wooden skeleton of a wedding arbor to set up on a broad lawn. Cerwinske built it himself.
“We built this yesterday,” he said.
He and Riley are quick to toss praise, and even quicker to jump in and ease some of the load.
“He’s super-confident,” Riley said.
“She takes the edges off me,” Cerwinske said.
Riley and Cerwinske met as counselors at a psychiatric hospital. Eight years later, they became engaged, and on Friday, they will become husband and wife.
And they’re experts in making the hard stuff look easy.
“I had a lot of flare-ups. I had a lot of health problems,” Cerwinske said.
Year after year, Cerwinske has battled diseases that attacked his body in different ways.
“They wanted to remove his colon at one point,” Riley said.
“My kidneys weren’t working,” Cerwinske said. “I swelled up with 20 pounds of fluid.”
But as he was battling glomerulonephritis, Chron’s disease, and even a stroke, they were falling in love. And as he was rushed out of the hospital, she never left his side.
“We were in a constant state of kidney failure for three years,” Cerwinske said.
But then, there was a break in the clouds. Cerwinske responded to a treatment, and got well enough to pop the question. And it was only a matter of when.
“I didn’t want the wedding to be a bad memory because we have so many few good ones,” Cerwinske said.
“He wanted to wait until he felt really well to do it,” Riley said.
Fast forward to this year, and the part we’re all familiar with.
“The pandemic starts,” Cerwinske said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to downsize the list and delay.
“Then we had wedding venue problems,” Cerwinske said.
Cerwinske and Riley are supposed to get married on Friday, and they found out one week ago that their wedding venue didn’t have the permits.
“We just roll with the punches,” Cerwinske said.
Ever the team, ducking every punch life throws at them, Cerwinske and Riley found a willing venue at Oswego’s Arronmore Farm.
On Friday, the couple will finally have their big moment. But through it all, their lesson has been to live for the small ones.
“The small things of the day, even if it’s just drinking coffee and watching dogs run around; the little things,” Cerwinske said. “That’s where your life is in that present moment.”
The good news is Cerwinske’s health is currently stable, and the vows are set to go ahead.