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A woman has revealed how she found the love of her life on LinkedIn – explaining how what began as a job pitch grew into nine years of marriage with a partner who stood by her side as she battled a devastating cancer diagnosis.

Katie Ortman Doble, from Colorado, is a headhunter who, back in 2013, was in her early 30s and living in Denver. 

She had proudly spent her 20s becoming ‘the queen of networking,’ as she described in an essay for Business Insider – becoming particularly adept at LinkedIn, with the professional platform being ‘the first website I open at the start of each workday,’ she added.

But, Katie went on, for most of her young life, ‘I was perpetually single. I dated – frequently – but I rarely made it to the second date.’ 

‘Perhaps I was being too picky, but I wanted sparks and could never seem to find them,’ she wrote.

Katie Ortman Doble was well-acquainted with LinkedIn through her job as a headhunter - but never expected the professional networking app to connect her to her husband

Katie Ortman Doble was well-acquainted with LinkedIn through her job as a headhunter – but never expected the professional networking app to connect her to her husband

She met her now-husband, Nick, after reaching out to him through LinkedIn to float a potential recruit by him, then a hiring manager at a local company

She met her now-husband, Nick, after reaching out to him through LinkedIn to float a potential recruit by him, then a hiring manager at a local company

That all changed when, one day, Katie reached out to the hiring manager of a local company to float a potential recruit by him. 

His name was Nick, and he seemed to be new to the area, an expat from the UK. 

‘It doesn’t look like you’re from here. I hope you’re enjoying it!’ she ended her first message to him.

The exchange took off from there, and it culminated with Katie putting forth an open-ended offer for the two to meet in person. 

‘If you ever want to grab a coffee or a beer, I love networking,’ she signed off.

For his part, when he had read Katie’s message, Nick apparently mentioned to a coworker at the time: ‘I think I’ve just gotten a date off of LinkedIn.’

The pair made plans to meet on a Saturday afternoon at a ‘trendy cocktail bar in Downtown Denver,’ Katie recalled. 

Though she had previously agreed to countless in-person networking meetings, this felt different, as she wrote: ‘After all, I often meet first-time clients for a coffee or a beer, although it was usually the former and never on a Saturday.’

After 'sparks' flew on the first date, Nick proposed to Katie within a year, on Thanksgiving

After ‘sparks’ flew on the first date, Nick proposed to Katie within a year, on Thanksgiving

However, as the couple was planning their wedding, Katie was also coming to terms with a terminal cancer diagnosis

However, as the couple was planning their wedding, Katie was also coming to terms with a terminal cancer diagnosis

Though initially given 16 months to live, Katie was helped by physician father, who pointed her in the right direction in enrolling in clinical trials - which ultimately saved her life

Though initially given 16 months to live, Katie was helped by physician father, who pointed her in the right direction in enrolling in clinical trials – which ultimately saved her life

She was thrown off by his description of his shirt, as he had described it as ‘claret and blue checkered.’

‘My gay stepbrother once informed me that if a guy uses a color outside the basic Crayola box, he’s probably gay. I wasn’t even certain what “claret” was,’ Katie said. 

But, she reminded herself, above all ‘the reason I was happy to be there,’ she recounted, was because ‘I love meeting new people.’

‘Then he walked in, with his very long torso, legs for days, and darling chin dimple peeking out from under his short beard. “Please don’t be gay,” I thought, smiling as we made eye contact for the first time, and I learned that claret is actually just burgundy,’ Katie recalled.

Katie then recalled how their conversation on that first date ‘flowed effortlessly, as we talked about our jobs, family, and where we were from… Neither of us stopped smiling the entire evening.’

At the same time, she hesitated bringing up the fact that she had been diagnosed with uveal melanoma – a rare form of cancer in her left eyeball with only a two per cent chance of spreading. 

Still, other men she had been on dates with had implied that the diagnosis made her unfit to be actively pursuing long-term romantic prospects. 

But when she had ‘let it slip’ to Nick that she had sold her red scooter in anticipation of losing sight in her left eye due to her cancer, he seemed ‘more upset that I no longer had my cool red scooter than the fact that I once had cancer.’

The date ended with a kiss – and, Katie fondly recalled, ‘the sparks.’

Over the next year, the two became inseparable, also soon meeting each other’s friends and family.

Nick recruited Katie’s sisters to go pick out a ring with him, putting plans in motion to propose to her on Thanksgiving. 

Even facing a harrowing cancer battle, Katie and Nick continued to travel and make plans for a shared future together

Even facing a harrowing cancer battle, Katie and Nick continued to travel and make plans for a shared future together

The couple even got a dog together, even though Katie's longevity was uncertain throughout her battle with cancer

The couple even got a dog together, even though Katie’s longevity was uncertain throughout her battle with cancer

Simultaneously, Katie got devastating news that the cancer had spread and now, with an ultrasound showing 12 new cancerous lesions on her liver, was facing a terminal diagnosis.

‘My sisters frantically texted Nick, suggesting he postpone the engagement,’ Katie continued.

Without hesitating, he answered: ‘”It doesn’t change a thing… She’s still the girl I want to marry.”

‘The day he proposed was the most emotional day of my life.

‘The week following, I got confirmation that the melanoma had spread and that I had 16 months to live. I was filled with conflicting emotions.

‘Being given a Stage 4, incurable cancer diagnosis with a 16-month shelf life is pure terror.

‘Being asked to spend forever, however long that might be, with the man you love is pure joy.’

‘I felt hopeless and hopeful,’ Katie recalled of the world-rocking period in her life.

And there was indeed hope for Katie. Though her main oncologist gave her less than a year and a half to live, her physician father immediately began looking up clinical trials for which Katie might be eligible.

Following one final surgery in 2021 to remove a 'rogue' tumor, Katie was finally declared cancer-free

Following one final surgery in 2021 to remove a ‘rogue’ tumor, Katie was finally declared cancer-free

In January 2015, Katie enrolled in one in New York at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK).

The following month, she tied the knot with Nick. 

‘The clinical trial at MSK stabilized my tumors for eight months. When I experienced tumor growth that eliminated me from the trial, I enrolled in my second trial in Denver. This game of whack-a-mole would continue over the course of seven years,’ she continued. 

She ultimately participated in a total of four clinical trials, as well as ‘two liver embolizations, a gamma knife when it spread to my brain, a laparoscopic liver resection procedure, and surgery to remove half of my liver.’

‘Each trial and treatment bought Nick and me more time together,’ Katie gushed.

‘We spent our 30s in fight or flight mode, but we never gave up hope. We continued to make plans. We built a house, we got a puppy, and we traveled the world.’

In 2021, Katie had one final surgery in to remove one last ‘rogue’ tumor – and suddenly she was at last cancer-free.

She concluded: ‘I’m not suggesting using LinkedIn as a dating app, but we go through life making connections with strangers. And sometimes, when we least expect it, those chance connections end up sustaining us.’

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This post first appeared on Daily mail

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