TODAY | April 25, 2012
>> back now at 8:11 with a love story cut far too short. a young bride loses her husband to cancer after just six weeks of marriage. it's a story that generated thousands of responses on our website. moving people in ways we rarely see. we're going to talk to the bride, bethany smith, in just a moment. but first, here's nbc's janet shamlian .
>> reporter: the story of bethany and ryan in some ways is like many others in young love . they met their freshman year at the university of oregon and sparks flew. they were immediately, bethany describes it, joined at the hip. they graduated in 2009 , found jobs, settled in to an apartment, and knew the formality of tying the knot was not far off. in the meantime, they had the world by its tail. as they documented in pictures and home videos . indulging their passion for travel and adopting a cat. they named him boots. but ryan was feeling ill. a colonoscopy in january of last year revealed a large tumor in his colon. what turned out to be stage four testicular cancer . the diagnosis was initially hopeful and the couple tried to continue on with a normal life . ryan surprised bethany with an engagement ring last july. as his condition took a turn for the worse, reality set in. doctors said he had very little time left. in december, with just three days planning, and herculean help from their friends, bethany and ryan were married. despite ryan 's frail condition, it was a day filled with joy. they treasured every moment.
>> here's our rings. and yours. they look so good.
>> love you.
>> reporter: ryan passed away six weeks later. while there is sadness, bethany says she sees a silver lining and hopes others will, too. she found her true life , the kind many spend a lifetime searching. for "today," janet shamlian , nbc news.