WEDDINGS

Nurses Come Together To Plan Wedding For Bride With Stage 4 Cancer

“Everyone should get the wedding they deserve."

11/05/2016 4:27 AM AEST | Updated 11/05/2016 4:27 AM AEST
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Illinois couple Destini Schafer and Brandon Thomas planned to elope in Jamaica this month, but instead, Schafer is in the hospital battling stage four stomach cancer.

So Schafer’s nurse, Ashley Shipley-Lovekamp, arranged a wedding ceremony ceremony for the pair in the courtyard of Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois on May 6.

Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
Brandon Thomas and Destini Schafer have their first dance at their reception held in a conference room at Memorial Medical Center.

Schafer, 24, and Thomas, 31, said their vows only two weeks after Schafer, a mother of three, was diagnosed. Before the wedding, she had been deemed too weak for chemotherapy and was told to consider hospice care.

“Everyone should get the wedding they deserve,” Shipley-Lovekamp told The State Journal-Register.

Miraculously, Schafer's health has improved since the wedding, and she's since undergone two rounds of chemo.

Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
Schafer and Thomas stand together during the ceremony.

The wedding was put together in only five days, yet was “better than it would have been [in Jamaica],” Schafer told The Huffington Post. Approximately 50 guests were in attendance. 

Schafer picked out her own dress, but tuxedos, rings and bridesmaid dresses were donated by Jim Herron, Ltd. custom suits, Candice’s Bridal and Denney Jewelers, respectively. A nurse quickly tailored the dress Schafer picked to fit her frame. 

Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
Schafer and Thomas' children from previous relationships were involved in the wedding as flower girls and ring bearers.

Schafer and Thomas' kids from previous relationships served as flower girls and ring bearer. The pair also have a baby together.

Thomas' favorite part of the wedding was exchanging vows with Schafer, while Schafer was particularly happy about being able to walk down the aisle.

Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
Thomas' favorite part of the wedding was getting the chance to exchange vows with Schafer.

"I can’t thank the staff enough for all the kindness and great care they’ve shown me and what they did for us," Schafer told The Huffington Post. 

Thomas set up a GoFundMe page to help with costs related to the illness. 

See more of Schafer and Thomas' wedding photos below: 

  • Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
    Brenda Hagemann, a cancer patient nurse navigator at Memorial Medical Center, goes over some final details with Schafer before the wedding.
  • Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
    Shafer receives a hug before the wedding.
  • Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
    From left: Rev. Greg Stafford, director of pastoral care at Memorial Medical Center; Brandon Thomas, groom, and Mike Thomas, father of the groom, wait for Schafer to walk down the aisle in the hospital courtyard.
  • Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
    Schafer's son, Jacob, executing his ring bearer duties.
  • Bobbi Wiseman/Memorial Medical Center
    Paige Gentry holds Noah, Schafer and Thomas' 8-month-old son.
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