Days after Kachet Jackson-Henderson and Brandon James Bell had a first date, in September 2021, she noticed unusual bruising all over her body.
“They came out of nowhere and I had no prior medical problems,” Ms. Jackson-Henderson said of the bruises. “I had not been injured, but I looked like I was in a fight.”
She drove herself to the Methodist Dallas Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenic purpura, a potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease that is characterized by a low level of platelets, a blood component essential for clotting.
Ms. Jackson-Henderson had only moved to Dallas from Sacramento, her hometown, the year before. She was raised by her mother, who died in 2002 after being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, and then her grandmother, who died in 2009 after developing a different blood cancer.
In addition to alerting her godmother, who flew in from California, Ms. Jackson-Henderson “texted Brandon as soon as I arrived at the E.R. to let him know what was going on, where I was, and that I’d let him know what happened,” she said. Soon after receiving her text, Mr. Bell “busted through the E.R. door,” as she put it, and said, “What are you doing here? We have things to do.”
“We both laughed at this,” added Ms. Jackson-Henderson, 35, who was released from the hospital four days after being admitted. “He was that sweet, caring guy I thought he was. He ran into the ‘fire’ and was going to be there for me.”
Rushing to her side was never a question for Mr. Bell, 44, who grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and Chicago before moving to the Dallas area in 2011. “I knew she didn’t have a big support system locally and I didn’t want her to feel like she was alone,” he said.
By then, the two had known each other for about a month. They first met on the dating app Hinge, in August 2021, where each stood out to the other because their profiles featured photos of them and their dogs.
“Brandon had a selfie with his dog and so did I,” said Ms. Jackson-Henderson, who has a Boston terrier named Rudy. Mr. Bell was pictured with his boxer, Ali, who has since died.
“He had the kindest eyes — big, brown and sincere,” Ms. Jackson-Henderson added of Mr. Bell. “I got a gut feeling from his picture that he was kind and sure of himself.”
Of his first impression of Ms. Jackson-Henderson, Mr. Bell said, “She was absolutely beautiful, she loved dogs, and I could tell she was into sporting events, as I am. There was a photo of Kachet at a Giants game.”
Their first date that September began at the Jaxon Beer Garden, in downtown Dallas’s AT&T Discovery District, after which they went to Midnight Rambler, a subterranean cocktail lounge inside the city’s Joule hotel.
“We really connected on that first date, sharing our passions, our upbringings” and pop-culture interests, Ms. Jackson-Henderson said. “We had the same kind of humor, so there was nothing but laughs.” Mr. Bell said that “after that first date, I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone else.”
Within three months of that outing and Ms. Jackson-Henderson’s subsequent health scare, Mr. Bell had purchased an engagement ring. They became engaged in January, about five months after they first met, when he surprised her with a proposal while they were talking about weddings and their future over coffee one morning at her place in Dallas’s Bishop Arts District.
“I knew our relationship was headed toward marriage, but I didn’t know he was going to ask me that day and it totally stunned my overly caffeinated self,” Ms. Jackson-Henderson said.
Mr. Bell, who attended DePaul University in Chicago and studied economics, now works for Charter Communications, a broadband cable company, in its quota department in Dallas. Ms. Jackson-Henderson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from San José State University, is an independent marketing consultant and a content creator who runs The Kachet Life, a website and blog.
They were married on Sept. 2 at the Carlisle Room, an events space in Dallas. Prentiss Brock Jr., the groom’s uncle and an elder ordained by the Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination, officiated before 80 guests. The ceremony included tributes to the bride’s deceased mother and the groom’s father, who died in March. The couple also partook in the tradition of jumping the broom.
“My heart could not hold all of the love that was shared that day,” Ms. Jackson-Henderson said.
Added Mr. Bell, “I always dreamed of what I wanted my wedding to be like, and it was even better than that.”