A lesbian couple who were on a mission to tie the knot in all 24 countries with marriage equality have made a heartbreaking announcement that one of them is dying of cancer.
Last year, 44-year-old Fleur Pierets and 39-year-old Julian P. Boom announced their intention to marry each other in every country that had legalized same-sex marriage. They termed the plan "Project 22," since 22 nations had marriage equality at the time (Germany and Malta have since been added to the list).
The women, both artists, sold all of their belongings and set out on their trip with plans to document the journey through a documentary, a photo exhibit, and a book. So far they've married each other in France, Belgium, the U.S. and the Netherlands, but their plan is now being cut short.
"My beautiful wife, the love of my life, is dying," Pierets wrote in a recent Facebook post explaining why they'd stopped doing interviews about Project 22. "A week ago we called the doctor in France because Julian couldn't hold her food and had fainted. After running some scans, it turns out that she has numerous tumors in her head and around her heart."
"The doctors are giving her three more months in which she will lose her capacity to speak and to remember things, until she will slip into a coma."
Pierets went on to explain that the tumors have been growing for ten years, but that even though Boom had breast cancer last year, doctors never performed any brain scans so they went undetected.
"I always believed in having a purpose in life, being exactly at the right place and time to make you grow," she wrote. "Now I find there's only randomness. And a great lack of silver linings."
In a follow-up post the next day, Pierets thanked friends for their loving comments and emails, and shared that although Boom is no longer able to read, she's reading the letters out loud to her.
“I won’t be replying to them soon," she wrote, "since I want to spend as much time with her as possible, but know that they are giving us a lot of strength...Thank you for being there."
Speaking about Project 22 in October, Fleur explained that the couple wanted to raise awareness about marriage equality in a positive way.
"Instead of complaining about 170 countries where you cannot get married," Pierets told the AFP, "let’s celebrate 24.”
A friend of the couple has launched a GoFundMe page to help with the couple's healthcare expenses, since their insurance will only cover some of their costs.
“Fleur and Julian touched our hearts," the page reads. "They inspired us, and helped us to realize that no dream is too crazy to follow."