PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s not every day you see a wedding procession in a hospital. But this one is bittersweet. Adam Kern’s mother, Anna Mae, is in the final stages of breast cancer at Excela Latrobe Area Hospital.
After four years together, Adam and Ashley Leighty planned to get married eventually. But Anna Mae’s deteriorating condition moved up their timetable.
The ceremony is performed in the hospital chapel.
“I wanted to do it mainly for my mother,” Adam says, “because I knew she wasn’t going to be here. Last week, she scared the death out of me. And my fiancé, that’s how great she is, said whatever it takes. And that’s why we’re here.”
Ashley has developed a fondness for the woman who is now her mother-in-law.
“When you’re with her,” she says, “her presence makes you feel great. Everything she does makes you feel great. You leave the room and you feel like you’ve been lifted. Very strong. And she makes me feel that way.”
“Adam, you may kiss the bride.” The pastor’s words close the ceremony.
Hospital staff, led by Anna Mae’s nurse, organized the ceremony in a matter of days.
“To see her smiling and interacting,” says nurse Carrie Polo, “that just makes the whole, everything worth it.”
A surprise reception for the newlyweds follows, complete with wedding cake. For one brief moment, sadness and loss give way to a joyful beginning. And Adam’s mom is smiling.
“That makes the day complete,” he says.