Forest fire a minor detail for newlyweds

Rebekah Ward
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Determination to be married keeps couple buoyant, despite adversity

Traci and Josh Humber were married in Labrador City recently amidst forest fire chaos, evacuation traffic from Wabush and a cancer scare.

But despite the turmoil, they never stopped beaming, according to Neil Simmons, who photographed their June 29 wedding.

“It was planned for Labrador City, but decorations, her cupcake trees, and a few more things got left in Wabush,” said Simmons, who did not know the couple previously.

“And then all of Wabush was evacuated, so all of Wabush was moved over to Lab City, right? So you’re trying to bring in your family for this wedding, and all of a sudden you have to open up your house, and your friends from Wabush are on your couch, and there was people who left Wabush without their wedding clothes. Some people didn’t make it at all. But no one cared. The church service was an absolute celebration.”

Simmons said the joy of the wedding was in drastic contrast to the situation in the greater community.

“You had to really appreciate where we were, OK?” Simmons said.

“There were lines at the gas stations, lines at the grocery stores. We’re very remote, you know? We don’t have warehouses and a tank farm, we can’t last without supplies, right? People were panicking, people were really upset, it was really horrific. And right in the middle of that, these guys …” he says, his voice trailing off as he recalled the jubilant ceremony.


In fact, the happy couple coped with the scramble just fine.

“When I was getting my hair done that morning, that’s when I found out they couldn’t make the cupcake bouquets for my centrepieces,” Traci said.

“So I sent one of my bridesmaids up to the Dollarama to get vases, and I sent my fiancé and the groomsmen up to put the jelly balls in water so they would stand, because they need it for six hours. And then after we got out of the church, I went out to the club and put together my centrepieces for supper. So it all got done.”

The forest fire added chaos to their wedding plans, but Traci and Josh were also dealing with something closer to home.

Josh had been told only nine days before the wedding that he might have lung cancer.

“What happened was, I went to the hospital because I had swelling in my feet,” Josh said.

“And anyway, the doctor told me, ‘Have you ever had a chest X-ray?’ And I said no. And he said, ‘Well, I’m going to check you for a lung disease called sarcoidosis.’ … Anyway, radiologists out in St. John’s came back and noticed my lymph nodes were enlarged, so the first thing they said was, ‘You know, we’ve got to check and see if this guy has cancer.’ So I kind of got scared. But I really don’t think that’s the case because I don’t feel one bit sick.”

Josh is still waiting on a final diagnosis.

The couple’s positivity pervaded their hazy wedding day. In Josh’s words, he wasn’t going to let a cancer scare beat him down. He was stronger than that.

“And with regards to the fire, I said to a few friends of mine at the ceremony that I wasn’t going to let no

forest fire stop me from

marrying the woman I love,” Josh said.  

For Simmons, the beautiful wedding put his own situation in perspective.  

“With the forest fire — to be quite honest, I just came from where my cabin used to be, and I’d seen where my Ski-Doo used to be (before the fire),” Simmons said.

“And on the social media here …people have groups and you hear all the complaining, ‘Oh my cabin.’ ‘Oh my grandmother’s quilt, oh.’ And then you meet this guy, you know what I mean? A week before his wedding he finds out (he might have) lung cancer. You know, your Ski-Doo being just a pile of goo on the ground, it puts it all in perspective. You’ve got your health, right? Go and get another one. And this guy — laughing, no complaints.”

When asked to recount a memorable aspect of the wedding, Josh is quick to reply.

“On the day of our wedding, in the morning there was smoke everywhere. But throughout the day, it kind of just cleared off,” Josh said.

“I thought that was kind of funny, actually. I never seen Traci up until the ceremony, but we discussed it to each other after, how it just cleared up, if only for a brief moment.”

Organizations: Ski-Doo

Geographic location: Wabush, Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Janice Riggs
    July 10, 2013 - 23:00

    Love, love, love, love and love some more!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Roxanne
    July 10, 2013 - 21:49

    Beautiful story....wish them many years a happiness....and hope for a good report on Josh's test......congrats!!