MISHAWAKA -- When Jackie Nisley had late-night talks with her father 10 years ago about someday walking her down the aisle, it may have seemed more like a distant dream.
Jackie, 16 at the time, was battling cancer and, after a recent staph infection, the prognosis for her surviving -- and reaching that goal -- seemed doubtful.
But when Jackie was up at 3 a.m., scared to fall asleep most nights, her father would sit with her and they'd discuss her future wedding day -- however uncertain it may have seemed.
"There didn't seem like much hope after that last staph infection," Mike Nisley recalled.
But Jackie, now 26, never gave in and has since beaten every one her doctor's predictions.
Fast forward 10 years later to Saturday when the father-daughter pair had their arms locked as they made their way down the aisle at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mishawaka for Jackie's wedding to longtime boyfriend, Alfredo Alvarado.
Both wore smiles, masking the emotion just below the surface.
"Tears were coming to my eyes," Mike said shortly after the wedding. "It was hard choking them back.
"Jackie was in such a hurry to get down the aisle. I think I was holding her back. At least I know that she's healthy."
That was hardly the case back in 2002.
While a 16-year-old student at Marian High School, Jackie went to the doctor after discovering a cyst on her left shoulder. After waiting 10 days for the results, doctors gave Jackie what she thought was good news -- she had Ewing's sarcoma.
"I thought, 'Thank God, it's not cancer,'" said Jackie, having never heard of Ewing's sarcoma.
Then she heard the bad news -- it was, indeed, a rare form of cancer, found in the bone or in soft tissue that usually occurs in children.
The next 10 months consisted of trips to the Mayo Clinic, Riley Hospital for Children and Memorial Hospital. Jackie had 20 blood transfusions, 12 staph infections and was in chemotherapy, which consisted of alternating five-day hospital stays and three-day stays.
"When I wasn't getting chemo, I had infections," said Jackie, who added she would get staph infections through a tube that ran into her chest to administer treatments.
Jackie also suffered from two bouts of sepsis, more commonly known as septic shock, which is triggered by a bacterial infection that has a survival rate of 50 percent.
At the end of her 14th and final chemotherapy treatment, Jackie was cancer free, but the chemotherapy had taken a steep toll on her body.
She had nine infections, a collapsed lung and a prognosis doctors called "hopeless."