McKendree and Luis met in the fall of 2011 at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She had just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and Luis with Osteosarcoma. Incidentally, they had the same cancers as the characters The Fault in Our Stars except those characters were fictional and McKendree and Luis were living the difficult and real experience of teenage cancer. However, they enjoyed spending time together on the in-patient floor where they both would sing to the other patients in the lobby. They did this in hopes of getting the 22 other patients out of their rooms, spreading music and joy to those who were fighting similar battles.

Their first date was to the St. Jude prom in the spring of 2012. McKendree always fell for Luis’ playful jokes, and Luis decided to convince her that in Honduras, his native country, they only wore red tuxedos! He convinced her that he would have keep to Honduran tradition, and sport a red tuxedo to the St. Jude prom. Understandably, McKendree was so worried that she would be “that girl with the guy in the red tuxedo.” He had his plan so well organized that when they brought out the tuxedos, only one was in a red bag, but then he popped out in a black tuxedo and they laughed so hard together. This was the beginning of an inseparable bond that they shared. From then on, they were always at each other’s sides through life experiences and through cancer treatments. They understood each other and grew to love each other despite each of their hardships

Though Luis didn’t embarrass McKendree with a red tuxedo, his favorite fashion staple was his red shoes. His red shoes were indicative of his bold personality, committed to living life fully and able to look past the challenges behind him and before him. Red is bold, red is passion, red is love.


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