When groom Alan Jones pledged to love his beautiful bride in sickness and in health, he meant it with all his heart.
He and Kerrie Woods became husband and wife on Thursday surrounded by family, friends and nursing staff during an emotional ceremony at Wollongong Hospital.
For 18 years the pair has loved, laughed and planned a future together.
They couldn’t have known that future would involve a battle against the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that has gradually stolen away Kerrie’s breath.
Her daughter, Kelly Woods, said the pair had hoped to marry after her mother received a lung transplant.
‘‘Unfortunately mum’s that unwell that she can’t have a transplant so we pushed it forward,’’ she said.
‘‘They were planning on doing it, they just thought they’d have a bit more time.’’
Nursing unit manager Svetlana Bosevski said the wedding was pulled together in just a week thanks to the incredible combined efforts of Kerrie’s family and hospital staff.
‘‘This has always been something that Kerrie talks about and always her fiance has been by her side and looked after her,’’ she said.
‘‘Kerrie thought this time around it’s time to do it and wanted it to be done on the ward, so we said ‘let’s do it’.’’
Even the Wollongong Court House registrar helped, fast-tracking the process thanks to special requests from Kerrie’s doctors.
Before the ceremony, the Mount St Thomas woman admitted to feeling a few butterflies, but was overjoyed to be surrounded by the people she loved.
She looked stunning in a flowing floral dress, kept specially for her big day.
‘‘I’ve had this dress for a long time, I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time and when it finally got here it was the right day,’’ Kerrie said.
Her daughter Kelly said she was incredibly grateful to the hospital staff for helping make her mother’s wish come true.
‘‘The staff have been absolutely amazing and they’ve cared for mum really well; I really appreciate everything they’ve done, they’ve helped pull all of this together and made it possible,’’ she said.