Adam Kern wanted his mother to see him get married and Latrobe Hospital made sure it happened. Cancer patient Anna Mae Kern, 63, witnessed her son marry Ashley Leighty because the hospital quickly put together a wedding in only a week.
Anna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 which went into remission in 2009. She had a mastectomy when it returned in 2011, but came down with a secondary illness and needed more chemotherapy. She was hospitalized last week when her health went downhill.
Kern proposed to Leighty last year, but never set a date because of his mother’s illness. They decided to move things along when Anna was hospitalized last week. Kern wanted his mother at his wedding and two family fiends suggested a wedding at the hospital chapel. From TribLIVE:
The Rev. Timothy and Darla Bunney, family friends, suggested the hospital nuptials. Kern approached nurse Carrie Polo, 36, of Unity, over the weekend about the idea.
Polo, who had never encountered such a request, collaborated with various hospital departments — including housekeeping, dietary and escort — to make it happen. “It’s been a team effort to make this day special for her,” Polo said.
Staff decorated the chapel with pink and purple flowers and silver balloons. By the door, they placed a table with a framed print of Corinthians 13:4. (“Love is patient. … Love never fails,” it says.)
The paper then described the ceremony:
About 2 p.m., Kern and Leighty helped the mother of the groom down the hallway by holding each side of her wheelchair, decorated with white crepe-paper streamers and a red paper heart. Family members followed them into the chapel.
With the soft notes of Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon” playing from a small white stereo, Anna Mae Kern raptly watched as her new daughter-in-law, clad in a white cotton sundress, approached her son, wearing a striped, button-down shirt and jeans.
Bunney presided over the ceremony, bringing tears to the eyes of family members and hospital staff.
After the couple exchanged rings and promised their love to each other, staff greeted them outside the chapel with a flurry of bubble-blowing. Mr. and Mrs. Kern stood in the hallway, smooching for cameras, as they waited for the mother of the groom to accompany them to a reception in the hospital lobby.
“There’s my son! There they are!” she said as she turned the corner in her wheelchair. “There’s my family.”
The entire family were more than happy to experience Kern’s wedding. Anna was luckily able to attend her daughter’s wedding three weeks ago.
“I’m just glad we could make it happen,” she said, choking back tears. “We don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.”