Get your Kleenex ready, because this story will likely make you cry, and in the best possible way.
We all know weddings take a while to plan—often months—but this one was planned in five days, and in a hospital, for 24-year-old patient Destini Schafer. Two weeks prior, Schafer had been diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer.
When Schafer told her nurse, Ashley Shipley-Lovekamp, that she and her fiancé, Brandon Thomas, 31, were going to cancel their plans to elope to Jamaica to get married, Shipley-Lovekamp had another idea—for them to get married at the hospital, the Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois.
This was Monday, May 2. Fellow nurses, staff, and good Samaritans helped Shipley-Lovekamp—one nurse altered Schafer’s dress, and local businesses donated rings, tuxedos, and bridesmaid dresses. Talk about heartwarming.
And, just five days later, Friday, May 6, Schafer went down the “aisle” of the hospital’s hallway out into the courtyard.
“Everyone should get the wedding they deserve,” Shipley-Lovekamp told The State Journal-Register.
All in all, it was a happy celebration in light of the heaviness of the situation. “Today is the best day I’ve had since my diagnosis,” Schafer said. “I can’t begin to describe how thankful I am.”
The couple’s children from former relationships were flower girls—Schafer’s daughter, Bella, 3, and Brandon’s daughter Nyna—and Schafer’s son, Jacob, 6, was the ring bearer. They also have an eight-month-old son, Noah.
“You never would have expected them to go out of their way like that,” Thomas said of the hospital staff. “The nurses are just awesome and really here for her.” Schafer, too, is thankful for everyone’s help. “I can’t thank the staff enough for all the kindness and great care they’ve shown me and what they did for us,” Schafer told The Huffington Post.
Prior to the wedding, Schafer was told she was too weak for chemotherapy, and that she should think about hospice care. But the wedding made Schafer feel better. Five days later, doctors said she was strong enough to try chemo.
If you’d like to help Schafer out, there is a GiveForward page set up for her expenses. Earlier today, Thomas posted, “Round two of chemo is complete. Destini woke up today saying she feels great!!”
Watch above and keep that Kleenex handy!