- Zach Stroup was diagnosed with lymphoma shortly after he got engaged to his high school sweetheart.
- He spent eight months in the hospital before the couple decided to share their journey on TikTok.
- They told an insider that they had no idea it would go viral.They just wanted to inspire people.
The woman turned her partner’s cancer recovery into an emotional TikTok montage that went viral on the platform, from a hospital ward wedding to a physical therapy effort.
Colorado-based Madison and Zach Stroup first met in high school when they were in the same catering class, but didn’t start dating for five years. Date February 2018.
The couple, now 24 and 26, got engaged in March 2021 while traveling in Florida. Little did either of them know that they would be spending the next eight months in chemotherapy.
The couple told an insider that what happened next led to the wedding being held in Zac’s hospital ward, so it was very difficult for them and at times they were unsure if they would be able to spend much time together. But when Zach entered remission for the second time and was discharged from the hospital on July 6, the couple celebrated by turning all the photos and videos from the experience into a TikTok montage.
Neither of them had used the app before, but after posting the video, it unexpectedly exploded viral with 29 million views. They told an insider they hoped the video would show people what it’s like to overcome adversity and hardships and stay positive until the end.
The couple wanted to share their story, but didn’t expect it to go so viral
After Zach was able to return home completely from the hospital, the couple said they’ve done some reflection on how the past few months have affected their relationship.
“It definitely tested our love for each other. I think it indicates whether there is
Madison added that the experience of being married inside a hospital changed the couple’s perspective on marriage. And for us, we know…”
Neither Madison nor Zach had TikTok at the time, but Madison’s mother was an active user of the app and it was she who suggested sharing her experience on the platform.
“My mother kept telling us, ‘I think if you can share your story, it can go viral, educate people, and give hope to people who might not have that hope. I got
The couple agreed and Madison downloaded TikTok. I spent about half an hour putting together a montage of videos and photos taken over the past year. From the day of the engagement, to clips of Zach recovering from chemotherapy, to the wedding in the hospital, and finally the day of discharge.
Madison, who wasn’t following her friends on the app when she posted the video on August 27, said, “I really thought only a few people would see it.
Seeing how the clip has been viewed by millions of people, with hundreds of thousands of views in just a few hours, several commentators have been inspired to fight cancer or support those with cancer. I am writing that I am doing it. They said they were grateful and excited.
“It’s really great to be able to spread our message and motivate others who are going through something similar to us and help them keep moving forward.
Madison and Zach decided to keep posting on TikTok to inspire others going through difficult times
After the couple’s first TikTok video went viral, they posted several additional videos revealing more about Zach’s recovery and how they handled their experiences as a couple.
They also posted a video sharing information about treatments and tests that may detect lymphoma, hoping to raise awareness and educate people about this type of cancer.
Madison told Insider that the couple wanted to show people the reality of recovering from cancer. There is
“It just shows that you still have to fight after the fight and that your life goes on, but it won’t be the same,” she said.
Zach told Insider he hopes the couple’s TikTok account will inspire people to deal with issues other than cancer, such as mental health issues and other physical ailments.
“I just want to spread the word that mindset is very important,” he said, adding, “Staying positive is probably the hardest and most powerful thing to get you through.”
For more examples like this, check out Insider’s Digital Culture team article here.