HOUSTON – It’s like a flashback from 2020.
Brides across the globe were forced to pause, reschedule or even cancel their big days.
But for Cruz Carrete it was more than just an annoyance, it came along with her worst nightmare.
Brides long for that special moment when they find the perfect dress to get married in.
“I was crying,” explained Carrette, “I put it on, and they put on a veil, and I started crying. This was the one.”
“My budget was $2,000 and it was $1,999, and the veil was like $400.”
When she found “the one” she realized it was all becoming very real and she would soon be getting married to the love of her life. Carrete and her fiancé had been together for five years. A little over a year ago, her then-boyfriend proposed to her in the ER parking lot as she was going into labor with her second child. She was finally going to get the big day she always dreamed of.
“I mean, as a little girl, you always wanted to get married right? There is no doubt you’ll get married, you’ll have kids, you’ll have a family,” Carrete said.
But on Thursday, Jan. 7, Katia Ajoku, Carrete’s daughter took a tumble at daycare. It was a moment that would soon change the trajectory of their lives.
The unthinkable happened.
In tears, Carrete explained how she felt in the moments the doctors explained her daughter would have a long road ahead of her, “I mean it’s devastating.”
After several weeks of continued tests and doctor visits, Katia was diagnosed with Stage 3 Wilms’ tumor on May 18, 2022.
She had a kidney removed, went through radiation, and now is getting chemo. So now, what was supposed to be the happiest time of their lives is now the most challenging and terrifying.
“This is something I was never expecting, nobody plans for this, no one expects this.”
She is left with a dress that is now a reminder of the wedding that could have been while her daughter continues to fight for her life.
“I immediately called the shop and told them I was no longer going to get married because I could not imagine planning a wedding, the happiest day of my life, when she’s going through this right now, she is my priority,” she added.
Brickhouse Bridal said they would help Carrete by telling their brides her dress is available and showing her resale websites. Her receipt says no returns, exchanges, or refunds.
“They said, ‘We can give you more time to pick up and pay the balance.’ They also said I could forfeit the dress if I wasn’t getting married and lose the 60% I put down on the dress which was over $1,300. I couldn’t do that. That’s a lot of money,” explained Carrete. “That’s all they would do.”
So now her dress will continue to sit in her closet until or “if” her big day ever comes.
“I’m still processing it,” she adds.
As for Katia, she has a long road ahead.
“With her diagnosis, it’s not clear cut because she has some genetic markers,” noted Carrete. “She will need follow-up care because it’s possible there can be a reoccurrence once she goes into remission.”
Their wedding venue said they have until 2023 to book a date or they will lose their deposit.