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North Texas couple celebrates anniversary in love and in remission

North Texas couple celebrates anniversary in love and in remission
North Texas couple celebrates anniversary in love and in remission 02:29

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas couple will celebrate their third wedding anniversary this Valentine's Day, in love and in remission. 

Shelbie and Kaleb Collins' paths first crossed at a summer camp for children battling cancer. 

Shelbie was diagnosed with leukemia on the last day of second grade. 

Shelbie and Kaleb Collins
Shelbie and Kaleb Collins

"My dad sat me on his lap and said, 'Hey, you're sick and we're going to go to the hospital, and we're not going to leave until you're feeling better,'" she said. "That was a very hard day." 

During treatment, Camp Sanguinity, a camp for children being treated at Cook Children's for cancer and blood disorders, became a safe haven. 

"It's a week to escape reality and feel normal, get to do things, have independence," said Shelbie. 

It's also where she first met Kaleb in 2009. 

When Kaleb was 10-years-old, what his doctors initially thought was a baseball injury turned out to be bone cancer. 

"It was tough," Kaleb said. "It was scary." 

He said Camp Sanguinity was also a place where he could have fun and meet other kids dealing with similar experiences. 

Kaleb and Shelbie went their separate ways at the end of that week, but they reconnected years later when they were asked to go back to camp as teen leaders. 

They formed an instant bond. 

"So we were really, really good friends, and I think I asked her, 'Hey, will you actually be my girlfriend? I'd like to put a title on it,'" said Kaleb. "She said no." 

Eventually, she came around. The two dated for several years before they got married on Valentine's Day 2020. 

"I told him, 'You have no excuse if you ever forget our anniversary,'" Shelbie said. 

They knew they wanted to grow their family but expected it would be difficult conceive. 

"Based on all my chemos and everything she had to go through, it should have been virtually impossible," Kaleb said. 

But before they even went to their first appointment with a fertility specialist, they found out Shelbie was pregnant. Their son Graham is now 18-months-old. 

Shelbie and Kaleb Collins
Shelbie and Kaleb Collins

"Furthering the miracles, we get to say, 'Hey, we've got a kiddo. By the grace of God, anything's possible," she said. "There was a point when I didn't know, my parents didn't know if I'd live to see my driver's license or go to prom. So these big milestones that are normal for anyone else, our families really grasped and it just made me realize how precious life is." 

Shelbie and Kaleb hope their story inspires Graham to never give up and to look for light, even on the darkest days. 

They served as counselors at Camp Sanguinity for four years and have plans to go back. 

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