Two-time cancer survivor finally walks down the aisle at 73

"I never wanted to marry very young," said Audrey Parker Green.

After beating cancer twice, a 74-year-old Louisiana woman has married for the first time and she hopes her unique journey inspires other unwed older people. 

“I never wanted to marry very young,” Audrey Parker Green said in an interview with PEOPLE, “but I didn’t anticipate marrying this old either.” 

According to the report, right before her 73rd birthday, her then-boyfriend, 75-year-old Allen Green, surprised her when he popped the question. The duo tied the knot in July 2021.

“My favorite part was when I was walking down the aisle, and I saw [Allen] standing there waiting for me,” she said. Parker Green’s three brothers gave her away on her big day. 

“We just want to be voices for the people in their 60s, 70s,” said Allen. “Just go for it, because you don’t have to live alone in the last part of our years.”

The couple has known each other since high school and reunited more than 25 years ago, but when Allen tried to shoot his shot at the time, Parker Green turned him down. 

“She gave me such a rough time,” Allen shared with PEOPLE, but he made another go at it a year and a half later, in November 1997, when they ran into each other at Scottville High School for an alumni event.

“When I saw him, I said, ‘Oh my God. Here he comes,'” the 73-year-old bride recalled. “If he didn’t speak to me, it would only be [us] and God that knew that he had ever tried to call me. That’s when he approached me and said, ‘Ms. Parker, I’m not letting you get away from me this easy this time.'”

The couple would go on to date for the next 20 years. When Parker Green was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2002, Allen “was there with me when I was going through some tough times,” she said. 

“I told him that if he couldn’t handle it, he could leave, and I wouldn’t hold it against him,” she continued, noting, “When one person is sick, and another person is healthy, that’s hard on both parties.”

Allen remained by her side while his lady love focused on beating cancer. A few years after she was colon cancer-free, Audrey was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.

“You really don’t know tomorrow,” she said in an interview with TODAY. “I knew I wasn’t ready to die. I wanted to live because I felt like I hadn’t done everything that I should’ve done. However, if He felt that I had done everything, then still, take me with my dignity.”

Parker Green underwent a double mastectomy with Allen by her side throughout the arduous ordeal. “I could not bathe myself for a period of time,” she said. “You had to bathe me because I had tubes all over. And then I couldn’t lay in the bed. I had to sit up in a chair.”

“We really enjoy each other,” Allen told PEOPLE. “We love each other, and we try to do the best for each other.”

Although Parker Green couldn’t imagine getting married this late in life, she’s “happy to be married at this point because I got to do a lot of things that if I was married, I wouldn’t have been able to do.” The newlywed spent her younger years traveling and learning “to love me for me.”

Parker Green believed “when you have children, and you have a husband, that’s your first obligation.”

“I think it would’ve worked out good even if we was married earlier,” said Allen. “But we can’t change the past. We are grateful for the present, and the time that we are together right now.”

Parker Green’s story is proof that it’s never too late to find love. 

“Keep your hands open, keep your heart opened,” she said. “And somehow, some way, whatever it is that you desired, it will come. But don’t expect it to come the way you think it’s supposed to come. And above all, never, never give up in spite of the challenges.” 

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