Kristin Powers gets married a month early in ICU so her mother, who was given a week to live by doctors, could be there

By Rose Minutaglio
January 06, 2017 05:00 PM
Cathy Stoll
Credit: Cathy Stoll

Devoted daughter Kristin Powers married the love of her life a month early at Indiana University Health West Hospital‘s ICU so that her mother, who was given a week to live by doctors, could be there.

“She is my best friend, my right hand and my person,” Kristin, 33, tells PEOPLE of mother Cheryl Owens. “It’s easy to get lost in the details of a wedding, but at the end of the day, it’s about commitment to love and I wanted her to be there for this part of my life.”

“I was just blessed by God that I was able to be there,” Cheryl Owens, 55, tells PEOPLE.

Kristin Powers
Credit: Kristin Powers

Cheryl, who lives with her husband Mike Owens in Monrovia, Indiana, was diagnosed with stage-4 kidney cancer in October and although doctors removed the five-inch tumor in November, it had already spread to her lungs. And on Monday, Kristin received a text from her mom with “a bunch of crying emojis in a row.”

Cheryl was rushed to the ICU.

“I ran to the hospital and doctors said the cancer was spreading fast,” she explains. “Then they said she probably wouldn’t make it through the week.”

Cathy Stoll
Credit: Cathy Stoll

Kristin and her now-husband Brian Powers, who live in Indianapolis, Indiana, decided to move up the date of their wedding, originally set for February 4.

“We had just started dating when we found out about mom’s cancer,” says Kristin, who met Brian at Franklin College 12 years ago, but didn’t start dating him until August 2016. “Brian proposed the day before Thanksgiving, he wrote me a sweet letter and had it hanging on my door with a ring pop, which is typical of us,very silly.

“We knew it was going to be a whirlwind wedding, just not this whirlwind.”

Cathy Stoll
Credit: Cathy Stoll

Kristin says her mother “absolutely adores Brian,” who fits into the family “so well.”

“The day she was diagnosed with cancer she told me, ‘I’m so glad you have someone to take care of you, since I won’t be here anymore,’ ” she adds.

Cathy Stoll
Credit: Cathy Stoll

Kristin and Brian were able to pull together the last-minute wedding with help from friends, family and Indiana University Health West Hospital.

“I cannot thank them enough for pulling it all together,” says Kristin. “There was a guest book, we had hole-punched paper for confetti. A nurse brought his guitar and sang ‘Amazing Grace,’ which is my favorite song. It was so special.”

The bride, who had her hair and makeup done by her best friend, was even able to pick up her wedding dress early (which was being altered at David’s Bridal). Her dad walked her down the aisle.

“She loves love, so I know how important this whole ceremony was to mom,” says Kristin. “She was always teasing me, trying to set me up with people. Always saying she wanted me to get married and have children.

“I’m just so glad she got to see it.”

Cathy Stoll
Credit: Cathy Stoll

Cheryl was wheeled in on a hospital bed for the ceremony, where the flower girl curled up next to her to watch Kristin and Brian exchange vows.

“I was worried it would be a somber event around her bedside, but it didn’t turn out like that,” says Kristin. “For me it felt like a real wedding when I walked down the aisle. It felt joyous, like a celebration of love.”

Cathy Stoll
Credit: Cathy Stoll

Kristin says her mom tells her she “isn’t done yet” and plans to fight for her life every minute.

“She’s hopeful for a miracle, but doctors aren’t sure how long she says,” says Kristin. “Her lung function has improved a little, so we’re hoping for another month.”

Cheryl will celebrate her 56th birthday on Saturday — but her present came a few days prior when she got to see her daughter tie the knot.

“The day after the wedding, a nurse came in and mom told her, ‘I looked up there and saw my baby and I am so proud!’ ” says Kristin. “I worried the wedding might upset her because it was a sobering realization of the reality of her situation, but then she told the nurse how happy she was and how beautiful I looked.

“To hear her say that meant a lot to me.”