Woman celebrates wedding with terminally-ill father at Alabama hospital

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -– When Sarah Williams learned her father, Joseph Williams, would be too sick to leave UAB Hospital to attend her wedding on Oct. 10, she brought the ceremony to him.

UAB Medicine Pastoral Care Director Malcolm Marler officiated a “Blessing of Marriage” ceremony for Williams and her fiancé, Jason Wire, on Oct. 8. Friends and family gathered alongside nursing staff in the Coronary Care Unit.

Photo c/o: UAB

“You look beautiful,” a surprised Williams told his daughter when came into the hospital room wearing her wedding dress.

Sarah said, “Words cannot express how amazing UAB Hospital was to my dad and to my family for having that ceremony…This selfless act helped change an unfortunate situation into a memory we will be able to cherish forever.”

Sarah and her family won’t be the only ones remembering the wedding — the Coronary Care Unit Staff was touched by the experience as well.

CCU nurse Kelly Karell said, “Mr. Williams had been here for a little while and was critically ill, and every time we went on a trip to X-ray or CT, he kept saying, ‘How am I going to get to my daughter’s wedding?’ He was disappointed that he might miss it.”

Kelly said that the nursing staff tried to make the wedding as special as possible for the family. They gave Sarah and her wedding party places to change, brought in food, and even ordered a cake.

Kelly said, “We knew Mr. Williams was very sick, and you could tell he and Sarah had a close relationship. We wanted her to remember her father’s seeing her get married, and we wanted to do what we could to make it special for her.”

The event turned out to be more special to the couple than they had imagined — Sarah’s father died a week later on Oct. 15 after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure.

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