Bride with terminal cancer marries best friend in hospital bed days before dying
Joey Williams said that although his and Nina Marino's family knew her condition was bad, doctors had never given her a deadline to live
According to a recent news story, a 19-year-old married her boyfriend on her hospital bed days before she passed away from her illness. People magazine reported that Nina Marino and Joey Williams were supposed to tie the knot on September 4, but their plans had to be changed drastically when doctors declared that Nina did not have too long to live.
The couple wanted their wedding to take place at St. Joseph’s Children Hospital in Tampa, Florida, but had to change their plans when doctors told them that Nina, who had terminal cancer, wouldn’t make it through the night. "The doctor encouraged us that, if we wanted to be married, we should do it that day," Joey told the publication. "It was a lot all at once. Nina just said, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’"
And so, just a few hours after the devastating news from doctors, Nina was in a wedding dress in her hospital bed, with a band of flowers on her head and a bouquet in her hands. Since she was too weak to walk to the chapel on the hospital premises, staff and the couple's family members decided to transform the ICU into a wedding venue.
"It wasn’t the wedding of our dreams but it was the wedding that made our dreams come true," said Joey. "It was really important to her. It was one of the things that she absolutely wanted to do, one of the things I wanted to do."
Photos from the wedding day showed the happy couple surrounded by about 30 family members, friends, and hospital staffers while they said their "I dos". In one of the photos, a happy, tuxedo-clad Joey can be seen planting a kiss on his bride's cheeks.
"I was really happy because I got to marry my best friend. I had wanted to do that since we started dating," the widower said. "It’s something we’ve known we wanted to do. I didn’t want her to die, but I knew that it was probably going to happen. So I wanted to do everything that we wanted to do. She said in the hospital that she didn’t want to die without us getting married."
Since the photographer that the couple initially hired for their wedding was unavailable, they called another wedding photographer, Nil Patel, to do the job. "I was an absolute emotional wreck on the inside while trying to act calm and professional on the outside," Patel said.
"The joy and strength everyone showed was something very profound to me. The entire family showed a type of strength for Nina I’ve never seen before in my life," Patel added.
Nina died three days after her wedding, on September 6. Joey said that although he and Nina's family knew her condition to be bad, the doctors had never given her a deadline to live. "The hardest part has been not having her here. She’s been a part of my life since she was eight years old," he said.
"She was amazing. She made everyone smile. She loved everyone and everyone loved her. I don’t know how she did it. But she genuinely made everyone she came into contact with absolutely adore her," Joey added while recalling fond memories he had with his childhood friend-turned-wife.