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Lexi Gould was two weeks into her sophomore year at Utah’s Cyprus High School when she felt a sharp pain stretch across her abdomen and back. “I thought I had appendicitis,” she said.

A visit to the emergency room revealed grimmer news. Lexi had nueroblastoma, a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells.

Her life changed in an instant. While her classmates were cheering at football games and picking out prom dresses, Lexi’s days and nights were spent with cancer specialists and oncology nurses. She drew strength from her parents, Kris and Emily Gould, along with the rest of her family and her Latter-day Saint faith.

Then a few months into her treatment she met Ricky, who was at the clinic for a checkup following his cancer remission.

“He had hair,” she said, laughing, “which was super weird for people in that unit.”

Ricky was a leukemia survivor. The talented young basketball player from Orem, Utah, had discovered his own illness when he was 15 and being treated for a sports injury.

“When I met Lexi I immediately thought, ‘What a beautiful girl,’” remembered Ricky.

By the end of their first chat they were trusted friends. They understood each other’s unique teenage-cancer-patient challenges: losing hair, chemo treatments, missing out on benchmark high school moments, facing uncertain futures.

“I was drawn to her—she had a spirit that was so attractive. I just wanted to be around her all the time,” he said.

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