A dying cancer patient got her wish Tuesday when she married her longtime boyfriend at the hospital where she is expected to die, WAVE 3 reports.
Hospital staff at University Hospital in Louisville, Ky., consider Evonne Lee an inspiration for the way she is living the final days of her life; doctors have given her weeks to live. Lee and her new husband, Don Tyler, knew they would wed when they first first met some eight years ago. But when Lee was diagnosed with cancer last year, jumping the broom became a priority.
Tyler popped the question on Christmas Day. It was around that time that Lee’s health began to deteriorate. Here is some background on how Evonne has decided to make the best of the time she has left:
“During February, I found out I had leukemia,” Lee said.
She’s been in the hospital since then, and doctors give her weeks to live.
“I know I don’t have long, but the time I have, I’m just going to enjoy it,” Lee said.
Tuesday was all about that. Lee is be unable to walk, so hospital staff wheeled her down from her sixth floor hospital room to the chapel.
The hospital chaplain performed the ceremony. Her body is in too much pain to wear the rings, so she wears her new ring around her neck.
The standing-room only wedding included family and friends and Lee’s new hospital family.
“I’ve done many things on this floor but not wedding planning,” Nurse Pritchett laughed. She helped organize the ceremony.
“We knew we were working against the clock, so a lot of the staff started bringing in all these wedding magazines,” she said.
The planning brought Lee joy.
“She started getting really excited,” Pritchett said. “She told me what kind of dress she wanted and what she was looking for and her vision of the day, and I was able to go to the local businesses and say what she wanted.”
Hospital staff converted Lee’s room into a wedding hall. And, with the help of local businesses, it was decked out with flowers donated from a local florist. Belmar Florist supplied the flowers, Pheln’s Bakery donated a cake, Gigi’s supplied cupcakes, Goose Creek Diner offered reception food, Sarah Hester Photography took pictures, and Rebecca’s Boutique provided the wedding dress.
Nearly a half dozen local businesses chipped in to make Lee’s special day as wonderful as possible. Lee was too weak to stand, so staff wheeled her down the aisle.
“I’ve performed two other weddings, but this was an extraordinary experience where so many people came together to make this happen,” said University Hospital Chaplain Rev. Tara Reck.
Evonne’s daughter, who has been living in Japan for six years, flew in for the occasion. She just learned of her mother’s health. “When they first told me, I was in a daze. My mother’s very young,” Celeste Lee said. As upset as she was after hearing of her mother’s diagnosis, she was able to muster up enough joy to help her mother celebrate hew special day. “I’ve got my family here to support me. I have a new family with all the great staff here, and I’m just praying for the best,” Celeste said.
University Hospital will always be a special place for the family. Evonne and Don got engaged there and it is where the two exchanged their vows. And, barring a miracle, it will be where Evonne will spend the final days of her life.