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A Bensonhurst couple’s love story didn’t win them a $22,000 diamond engagement ring – but it did win them fans.
Frances Sanchez and her boyfriend Carlos Figueroa competed against four other couples for a Zales diamond in Times Square last Friday.
A Pennsylvania couple married 28 years took home the grand prize but Sanchez and Figueroa touched the hearts of New Yorkers watching the contest.
“When the event was over, a lot of people were coming up to me and Carlos and saying, ‘We really liked your story,’” Sanchez told this paper.
All five couples were given a chance to “profess their love” in front of a panel of judges, including editors from The Knot and Glamour magazines and sex therapist Dr. Ruth.
While some chose to sing love songs, Sanchez read her contest essay, in which she reveals, “I love this man because he is the most wonderful, caring, loving man you will ever meet. He is like a big teddy bear. He will give you the shirt off his back. I have gone through a lot to be with this man and it was worth every struggle. He has been a prince charming from day one, even cooking for me all the time since I’m a little domestically challenged.”
Sanchez, 20, and Figueroa, 25, have dated for more than a year and plan to wed.
Their relationship was tested last November when Figueroa went to the doctor for a routine checkup.
The doctor found that Figueroa had high blood pressure and sent him to a nearby hospital.
That’s where doctors diagnosed him with stage five kidney disease and said he had just six months to live.
Figueroa now undergoes dialysis three times a week and his condition is improving.
The experience helped Sanchez and Figueroa grow closer as a couple.
“It made us stronger. In my point of view, it made me feel like I don’t want to leave his side. I want to help him through everything,” Sanchez said. “He said he wasn’t even thinking about marriage until he went into the hospital and I never left his side. We did things the way a married couple would do. I helped him the way a wife would help her husband.”
Sanchez and Figueroa didn’t leave the Times Square competition empty-handed. They received a $100 gift certificate to any Zales store.
“Carlos told me to pick something pretty out,” Sanchez said with a laugh.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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