Stating that she didn’t want her diamond engagement ring to become another pawn shop ring because, for her, it was a “symbol of love and happiness,” a New Mexico woman decided to gift it to a deserving couple.
With the assistance of the Albuquerque Community Facebook page called “Inhabitants of Burque,” the anonymous benefactor, whose own relationship just didn’t work out, found the perfect match within 24 hours of posting her offer on Monday, April 6.
Dozens of couples responded to the post, which asked them to submit their photos and love stories. But, one particular story stood out from the rest…
Josh Michaels and Laura Aitken have been engaged since 2013, the same year Michaels was diagnosed with rare form of stage-four cancer. For the past two years, the couple has battled through 18 cycles of chemotherapy, three surgeries and a crushing amount of medical-related debt. Michaels is currently on disability and they are struggling to keep their home.
“I’ve been told a few different things you know, ‘I wasn’t gonna make it, I had two months left,’ and I’m still here,” Michaels told KRQE News 13.
“To break up and to give up would have been worse to me than for him to pass away,” added Aitken.
On the Inhabitants of Burque Facebook page, Michaels wrote about his medical challenges and how his devoted fiancée has been supportive every step of the way. He concluded, “It [would] be so nice to give back to someone I love [who] has helped me through one of the roughest things in life.”
The anonymous donor agreed and awarded the $2,100 antique-style ring to the young couple. In a statement, the anonymous donor said, “I didn’t want this story to be about me, which is why I choose to remain anonymous. If anything, I wanted to remind myself and the community that love is out there, and to never give up. Josh, I wish you and Laura the absolute best!”
Making the ring presentation to Michaels and Aitken was Leo York of the Inhabitants of Burque Facebook page.
“The world doesn’t always give you what you want, but there are people out there that, you know, can give you help,” York said. He told them that he thought they were amazing and that they shouldn’t think anything less of themselves. “Cancer doesn’t define you,” he said. “It’s just something that happens.”
As he viewed the ring for the first time, Michaels commented that the ring was “really nice.”
Then he proposed to Aiken as he did two years earlier. “I love you very much,” he said, as he slipped the ring on her finger. They kissed, and then Aiken said, “Yaaay!”
When asked what she would say to the ring’s original owner if they got a chance to meet, Aiken said, “I don’t know if I’d have words for her. I think I probably would just hug her, and probably cry on her shoulder a little bit, happy tears.”
“It’s just little things like this that keep you strong, keep you going,” said Michaels.
At the end of the presentation, with the media gone, Michaels and Aiken finally got to meet their benefactor, who secretly had been waiting in the wings. She exchanged hugs with the couple and confirmed that the ring was full of “positive vibes” even though her own relationship didn’t work out.
When Michaels asked about the story behind the ring, the woman said, “It was a good story. But, people change, you know.”
Images: Screen captures via KRQE.com; Facebook/Inhabitants of Burque.