LATROBE, Pa. (AP) — An ailing Pennsylvania cancer patient was able to witness her son's wedding after medical staff helped arrange a hastily planned wedding in the hospital chapel.
Anna Mae Kern was escorted to the chapel by groom Adam Kern and bride Ashley Leighty for the wedding Friday at Excela Latrobe Area Hospital. She had hospitalized last week after a long struggle with breast cancer.
"Life is so short. I wanted her to see it," Adam Kern told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The couple was engaged last year but didn't have a firm wedding date in mind. After Kern's mother was hospitalized — not long after attending her daughter's wedding — they asked the hospital staff for help arranging a ceremony for their own nuptials.
Staff decorated Anna Mae Kern's wheelchair with white crepe-paper streamers and a red paper heart for the ceremony. Family members followed her and the couple into the chapel, where Leighty and Kern exchanged vows surrounded by flowers and balloons.
Hospital staff and family blew bubbles for the newlyweds outside. And as Anna Mae Kern, 63, approached her son and new daughter-in-law, she exclaimed "There they are! There's my family."
The hospital provided cake and punch for the reception.
"I wanted to do it mainly for my mother," Adam Kern told KDKA-TV, "because I knew she wasn't going to be here. And my fiance, that's how great she is, said whatever it takes."
Leighty said her mother-in-law's strength is an inspiration.
"You leave the room and you feel like you've been lifted. Very strong. And she makes me feel that way," Leighty said.