Through sickness & health

Joshua and Kaitlyn Harloff, The Daily News Valentines Day Couple contest winners.

OAKFIELD — Two high school sweethearts have faced difficult trials and tribulations in the past year, yet instead of driving them apart they are now closer than ever, holding up what it truly means “in sickness and in health.”

In The Daily News 2017 Couples Contest on Facebook, Joshua and Kaitlyn Harloff won in a landslide with more than 1,900 likes.

The two both went to Oakfield-Alabama High School where they first met when Kaitlyn was 14 and Joshua was 16.

“We were in the same gym class, and it was at the end of the year in June like a week before finals. I saw him playing dodgeball — the girls were allowed to sit on the bleachers because it was the end of school — and I just thought he was cute,” Kaitlyn said.

Kaitlyn’s best friend knew Joshua from a shared math class, and gave him Kaitlyn’s number. A few days later the future couple started hanging out.

“He asked me out a week later, and I said, ‘Sure,’” she said with a laugh.

Joshua proposed to Kaitlyn after he took her to the Fargo Road Christmas lights.

“I love Christmas. I’m obsessed with the Christmas time, so I always wanted to go to Fargo Road and see the lights,” she said.

“We just walked around, and I got down on one knee and I asked her,” Joshua added.

However, things became difficult when Joshua was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia four months before they were supposed to get married.

Kaitlyn said at first they just thought it was the flu, but after two weeks of Joshua feeling sick she suggested they go to the emergency room to get him checked out. This is when the cancer was discovered in his blood, and he was rushed from the United Memorial Medical Center to Rochester Regional General Hospital before being transferred to Strong Memorial Hospital.

“It was the craziest time of my life. Honestly it’s kind of a blur. It all happened so fast. I mean in a few days he was in getting treatment,” she said.

The couple had a large wedding planned for May 28, 2016 but needed to cancel it and hold a smaller service in Joshua’s front yard.

Joshua is now in remission and is doing extremely well with his treatments, which will continue for another 2 years.

“It does bring you closer together. It kind of changed my outlook on life,” Kaitlyn said. “Don’t think anything for granted. All those cute little sayings are so legit now just because you never know what is going to happen.”