Like many of y’all, my husband and I promised ourselves to each other “in sickness and in health” at our wedding. Thankfully, we haven’t had much cause to live up to the first part, but I’m always moved by those couples who have. Especially ones like Jewel and Ben, who’ve weathered some pretty scary circumstances even before they officially wed. I think you’ll enjoy their story — a great reminder that the real beauty of a wedding is a lifelong partner who will stick with you through thick and thin.
Thank you to Vicki Grafton for the breath-of-fresh-air images!
For our entire relationship, Ben and I have disagreed on the story of us: how, when, and where we met will go down as one of life’s great unsolved mysteries. We can both agree, however, that Ben’s sister Sydney is responsible for setting us up. About two to three months before I graduated high school, I had been complaining to Sydney about how desperate I was for a prom date when she suggested that I ask Ben to my prom. He seemed nice enough, so I asked him, and he said yes. Fast forward about seven years later, and Ben was down on one knee asking me to be his wife.
About six months after the proposal, I had a routine appointment with my nephrologist (kidney doctor). I was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (a type of chronic kidney disease) when I was 16 years old, so I’d been seeing my kidney doctors every few months for the past 10 years. A few weeks before Thanksgiving in 2012, my kidney doctor advised me to go on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Ben and I thought we’d at least be able to make it through the wedding and maybe a few years of marriage before I needed a transplant. Wedding or not, my kidneys had plans of their own. From December 2012 to May 2013, my kidney function fell from 15 percent to 5 percent.
Patients on the organ transplant list wait an average of five years before receiving a kidney from a deceased donor, and roughly 80 percent of people waiting for an organ transplant are waiting for a kidney. This past April, it was beginning to look more and more like I wasn’t going to get a new kidney in time for the wedding. I started preparing for dialysis, but on April 17, the transplant center notified me that my dad had been approved to donate his kidney to me! My whole family and Ben were relieved, excited, nervous, anxious, and hopeful that the surgery would be a success and that I’d finally be healthy.
On May 3, my dad donated his kidney to me, and the doctors said it worked right away! Since then, I’ve been feeling great, I’m no longer addicted to coffee, and Ben and I are so happy that I can enjoy the wedding as a healthy bride! And my dad is doing just fine, as well. Dad saved the [wedding] day!
Jewel and Ben are getting married this weekend, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for them! Be sure to leave them some love in the comments! Also, how perfect is this post for Father’s Day weekend??
P.S. Did you know we feature an engagement session every Friday on our Facebook page? Check it out!