Lydia Dominguez, a 19 year old kidney cancer patient who married her best friend on Monday, died on Valentine’s Day. Lydia married 21 year old Joshua Ordoñez, in a last-minute wedding on the 10th floor of El Paso Children’s Hospital. She died in Ordoñez’s arms at around 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The director of marketing for El Paso Children’s Hospital, Audrey Garcia, revealed that Lydia was surrounded by her dad, mom, siblings and loved ones.
She said, “This morning she woke up and said she was hot and she needed to do her hair. So mom put up her hair in a bun. She got a bit weak afterwards and laid down. She turned to look at her husband and smiled. She sat up and gave him the biggest hug. She then laid back down and all her family told her it was OK … she could let go. And in two breaths, she was gone.”
Lydia was first diagnosed with kidney cancer four years ago, at just 15 years old. Doctors found more cancer in her intestines and lymph nodes when they went in to remove the kidney. She got sick again in October, the cancer had returned, and doctors found it had spread to her lungs and liver. She chose to stop all treatment for her cancer, and was only on pain medications.
Hospital staff organized her wedding in four hours, and the celebration included a cake, food and a poster for guests to sign. Lydia wore a white tea-length wedding dress with red flowers in her curled brown hair. She and Ordoñez were married by Robert Warmath, a community and care pastor at Del Sol Church.
Warmath called the ceremony a wedding commitment, since a legal marriage license was not available. He said it was a privilege to help fulfill Dominguez’s wish of being married. “I ensured both families that I knew the days and weeks ahead would be very difficult, and I wanted to be available to provide any ministry or comfort that I could,” Warmath said.
Ordoñez said he met Lydia online in 2017. The two met in person for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. “I love her with all my heart, and want her to keep fighting until she’s ready,” Ordoñez said on Monday.
Marisa Sanchez, Dominguez’s mother, told the El Paso Times on Monday that the wedding celebration had helped bring her family back together. “Divorce can do some crazy things. And my daughter brought it all back, but with more — a bigger family, a bigger blessing and more love than we could ever imagine,” Sanchez said.