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 planâoften monthsâbut 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 fiancÃ©, Brandon Thomas, 31, were going to cancel their plans to elope to Jamaica to get married, Shipley-Lovekamp had another ideaâfor 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-Lovekampâone 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. First, the hospital hallway'sâ¦
â¦then, the courtyard's.
âEveryone should get the wedding they deserve,â Shipley-Lovekamp toldÂ The State Journal-Register.
All in all, it was a happy celebration in light of the heaviness of the situation.Â âToday is the best day I've had since my diagnosis,â Schafer said. âI can't begin to describe how thankful I am.â
The couple's children from former relationships were flower girlsâSchafer's daughter, Bella, 3, and Brandon's daughter Nynaâand Schafer's son, Jacob, 6, was the ring bearer. They also have an eight-month-old son, Noah.
A reception followed?
âYou never would have expected them to go out of their way like that,â Thomas said of the hospital staff. âThe nurses are just awesome and really here for her.âÂ Schafer, too, is thankful for everyone's help.Â âI can't thank the staff enough for all the kindness and great care they've shown me and what they did for us,â 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.Â But, the wedding made Schafer feel better. Five days later, doctors said she was strong enough to try chemo.
IfÂ you'd like to help Schafer out, there is a GiveForward page set up for her expenses. Earlier today, Thomas posted, âRound two of chemo is complete. Destini woke up today saying she feels great!!â
And if you couldn't make it to the ceremony? You can watch it right here in an abbreviated version that's about a minute long. (But keep that Kleenex handy!)