I'm the third of four sisters, and when I was little, we shared a room. It was like a never-ending sleepover—we'd hang up bedsheets and pretend we were camping inside a giant tent. We hardly ever got in trouble because that meant telling on each other, and we all knew you just don't do that.

When I was 14, our dad died from cancer, and right after that, my mom started having health issues—headaches, memory loss. Once, she asked who I was. The doctors assumed it was stress, but she had a brain tumor, and eight months later she passed away, too. So my oldest sister, Nancy, who was 21, dropped out of school to care for us.

The summer after college, I enlisted in the army. I met my fiancé, Nick, in basic training, and we fell in love when we were both deployed to Germany. After I accepted his proposal, I made sure he'd asked my sisters for permission. I already knew I wanted to marry him—so I'm glad they said yes. My wedding's in July 2017, and I'm getting a dress through Brides Across America, a program that gives away gowns to service members. This act of kindness is something I'll never forget.


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