By Sarah Francis
A mum and dad have been reunited after 25 years apart and are set to be married after beating cancer.
Julie Stewart, 55, and Perry Stone, 62, dated for five years and had a daughter together in the eighties but eventually broke it off because Perry’s job meant he was often away for weeks on end.
The estranged couple, who subsequently lived in different countries, didn’t speak until 2015, when Julie found Perry on Facebook.
After an emotional reunion the couple decided never to part again and Perry asked Julie to marry him.
However, shortly after getting engaged, Perry, who lived in Toronto, Canada, discovered a lump and was diagnosed with throat cancer.
It was his third battle with the disease having survived prostate cancer in 2002 and 2015, but this time Julie was there to fight by his side.
Earlier this month, Perry was given the all-clear and now the couple are planning their wedding for September.
Julie, a lab assistant from Enterprise, Alabama, said: “He was on my mind a lot in 2015, I couldn’t get him out of my head.
“It turned out that during that time he had prostate cancer and he was given six months to live.
“He was at death’s door. He was at preparing to die.
“As soon as we speak we knew without a doubt, we still loved each other.
“We couldn’t be without each other. He told me that having me back was like a drug and he was on cloud nine.
“He said, ‘even if nothing worked out, just from hearing you was everything I needed. I would never let you out of my sight, if I ever had a chance again.'”
Julie was 24 when she met 31-year-old Perry in 1985 in Missouri at a local dance.
Julie moved to the Canadian border to be with him and in 1990 became pregnant with their daughter Calla.
Julie said: “We were drawn to each other immediately.
“We were just very much in love – extremely comfortable, always been very mellow, we never ever fought.”
However, Perry’s job as a truck driver meant he would often leave Julie to look after the kids alone.
When Calla was two years, Julie had enough and decided to move back to Florida to live with her parents.
She said: “Back then, you couldn’t just text and call, so you had no contact.
“He would be gone for six weeks, months at a time. Contact was minimal.
“It was hard him being gone all the time, eventually we split.
“In the first few years, he was upset with him, I didn’t want to talk to him.
“He left messages but I never returned the calls.
“I loved him very much, I knew how I felt about him and it was too hard to speak to him.
“I told my daughter about him as she grew up and she wanted to meet him.”
In 2015 after finding Perry on Facebook, Julie arrange a call with Perry and her daughter.
She said: “We just picked up where we left off. It was very emotionally and scary. We talked till four in the morning.
“We were just like we were back then and talked about everything we went through.”
Julie and Calla planned to visit Perry at his home in Toronto in the new year.
She said: “He picked us up at the airport, we got teary and cried a bit, it was very joyous. We didn’t miss a beat.
“We decided to be together for the rest of our lives.
“I’ve never felt this way for any person. There’s nothing going to stop us. ”
However, after their engagement party, Perry was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2016.
She said: “I died on the inside when I heard how sick he was the first time with cancer and there had been no one to look after him.
“So when he complained of feeling ill, I was really afraid it was cancer. He had just overcome prostate cancer.”
Perry was on chemo, radiation and IVF treatment and he was declared cancer free June 9th.
Julie said: “We focused on the dream. I bought a house in Alabama for us. It was the only thing that got him through it.
“We talk every day since that thanksgiving call.”
The couple who are planning their beach wedding for September say they learnt from the mistake of their youth.
Julie added: “We have both said that our problem was communication. I should have said how I was feeling instead of assuming he knew.
“He tells he didn’t express enough how he felt about. Now he said ‘I’ll keep telling you and make sure you know’.”
The couple are raising money via GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/REUNITEPERRY-JULIE