Ontario hospital's ICU team helps patient accompany his daughter down the aisle
KITCHENER -- A Kitchener, Ont. hospital went the extra mile for a terminally ill father-of-the-bride whose daughter wanted him to see her on her wedding day.
Grand River Hospital said Tuesday that Danielle Connelly and Ben Maloy wanted to get married with their families in attendance, but there was one major hurtle to overcome: Connelly's father, Martin, is in the hospital's ICU and can't leave the hospital.
The couple was talking to hospital staff about Martin's end-of-life matters when Connelly proposed the idea of hosting a physically distanced wedding ceremony at the hospital.
"I found myself very confidently saying, ‘Yes we can make that happen and yes we can do that in three days,’" said social worker Katie Garner.
Connelly said that the hospital staff blew her away with what they were able to do on such short notice.
"Our plan was the ICU room but it turned into being outside, our friends and family got to be here, it was amazing. It was absolutely amazing," she said.
While it may not have been the wedding of their dreams, the couple said the wedding was everything they wanted from their big day.
"I think the big thing was friends and family and that's exactly what we got. Even with COVID restrictions, we had friends doing a Zoom call, so we had people participating from elsewhere in Canada, from the U.S., from the U.K.," Maloy said.
Multiple departments stepped in to make the big day happen, from social workers who planned and decorated, to the music therapy department who played the bride down the aisle.
The hospital's spiritual care provider officiated the wedding and the ICU staff found a way to get Martin safely down to the courtyard lawn with his respirator. Though it was a physically short trip outside, they say it took days to safely plan.
"Just because of the nature of the care equipment that he needed, so being on the ventilator, I needed to walk with him," said respiratory therapist Lindsay Zador. "It kind of made me feel like an honourary bridesmaid."
Maloy's coworkers came to the hospital to decorate the courtyard, while the bride-to-be wore a wedding dress lent to her by a friend.
The icing on their metaphorical wedding cake: having Connelly's dad be there for her big day after spending months inside a hospital room.
"He was so excited, and then to also drop the bombshell that he was coming outside, it was amazing," she newlywed said.
Staff at the hospital said that the wedding has helped lift their spirits after a tough few months in the hospital.