Hospital Staff Helps Organize 'Bittersweet' Wedding for Terminally Ill Patient and His Fiancée
Gus and Rachel Jiménez wanted to tie the knot despite his looming prognosis — and their wish was granted
A Delaware hospital ensured that one of its patients got to live out his dream of marrying his fiancée by organizing a wedding inside its atrium.
Gus and Rachel Jiménez tied the knot on Feb. 23 at Wilmington Hospital, about a month after the groom was admitted for dehydration following an incurable cancer diagnosis, WABC reported.
“The perfect definition is just bittersweet,” Rachel told the outlet of their impromptu wedding day. “We’re still on cloud nine.”
Back in August, doctors found a lump on Jiménez’s lung that ultimately turned out to be cancer, Rachel told WABC.
Specifically, he was battling NUT carcinoma, according to CNN. The rare form of cancer, which develops in the respiratory tract, is aggressive and cannot be cured, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The news was especially devastating for the couple, who were only six months into their relationship but already knew that marriage was on the horizon.
“From the first date, he basically proposed to me every date after that,” Rachel explained to WABC. “Just kind of jokingly, but we both knew it was kind of serious.”
It wasn’t until Jan. 31 that Jiménez was admitted to Wilmington Hospital’s emergency room for dehydration that things began to worsen, according to CNN. And all the while, Jiménez and Rachel still had marriage on their mind.
“The pain progressed because the cancer progressed while he was here,” she told WABC. “We kind of just talked about why would we get married if we know this potentially could lead to him not being here much longer and I said, ‘I didn’t care about that.'”
After coming to terms with the fact that his prognosis was grim, Jiménez reportedly decided to propose to Rachel on Feb. 15.
Knowing his time was limited, Wilmington’s staff and local community members came together, and within a week, were able to create the perfect wedding for the couple inside the hospital atrium.
Megan McGuriman, a spokeswoman for health care provider ChristianaCare, told CNN that the event was a group effort from the food, to the attire, to the photography.
“Our caregivers helped decorate the atrium with flowers, brought the wedding cake and cupcakes and set up seating for guests,” she explained, adding that Men’s Wearhouse and David’s Bridal donated a fitted dress and tux for the couple.
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A local photographer also offered to snap photos for free, while many people showed up to celebrate the memorable day, according to McGuriman.
For Rachel, who is soaking up every bit of time she has left with her husband, the kind gesture meant more than she could ever put into words.
“We’re still living in the moment, and that’s basically what we’re doing every day,” she told WABC. “I still want to be his wife no matter what.”