John Penn had waited 28 years to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Sunday morning, he did.
His body isn’t what it used to be. In May of 2012, he was hit by a car in Panama City and suffered 23 broken bones. Around Christmas of 2013, he found out he had Acute Myaloid Leukemia (AML), a rare but aggressive type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects immature blood cell growth.
After three rounds of chemotherapy, doctors told him the cancer had become resistant to the chemicals. Doctors were measuring his life in months. He decided to measure his life in moments.
On Feb. 28 of this year, he visited his daughter,Shayna, in Lithia Springs, Ga., where she has been living. They talked about the prognosis. They shared memories, and regrets.
“We had some alone time and he told me how important it was to him to be able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, and that he hated he was going to miss it,” Shayna recalled.
Shayna, 28, decided to have a wedding with everything but the groom. The other part will come some day. Sunday, friends and family gathered at WoodhamFarms near Wicksburg to share the experience.
The entire ceremony lasted less than six minutes.Shayna, in full wedding regalia, walked down a set of stairs inside the building and met her father. He has walked recently with the aide of a cane, but not this time. He guided her to the foot of the aisle and they walked together to the minister.
“Who gives this woman to be married today?” said Eddie Henderson, chaplain for the Dothan Police Department and friend of the family.
“Her mother and I,” Mr. Penn said.
With that, John Penn faced his daughter. She put her hands around him and the two began to dance. Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl” played in the background. (Read more)
Bryon told Northern Michigan’s News Leader he could have chosen anything, from meeting his favorite celebrity to going on a trip to anywhere he wanted.
Instead, he told the foundation he wanted to take his wife on a second honeymoon.
“It’s one way to get us both in without anybody else bugging us so I thought for a second honeymoon before I go,” Bryon says.
Bryon and his wife, Stephanie, have struggled together against Bryon’s aggressive liver cancer for years.
“About six years ago, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and he was put on a transplant list,” Stephanie says. “In February, they took him off the list because they found two more tumors on him. He’s got two months, according to the doctors.”
Bryon’s hospice social worker reached out to the Dream Foundation.
When they heard of Bryon, they acted fast.
“They contacted the Traverse City Resort and Spa and they granted him three days there with a bunch of extras in it,” Stephanie says.
She says she was shocked.
“He’s a huge Carrie Underwood fan so I thought if you could give him anything in the world, it would have been to meet Carrie Underwood and he was adamant that’s not what he wanted,” Stephanie says.
Bryon says while meeting his favorite celebrity would be amazing, he would choose spending time with his wife over all other options.
“It’s nice to be able to meet a celebrity or something, but there’s so many of them out there,” Bryon says. “I would pick my wife. She’s the best one.”
He says he wouldn’t have spent his one wish on anything else.
“Get her a honeymoon,” Bryon said with a laugh. “It’s what i’m driving at and it’s all I wanted. After that, you can cut me loose.” (Read more)
LAKEWOOD – A dying father and husband had a wish that was going to be granted by a national nonprofit. He died before it could be granted.
Al Visconti loved working on his yard and garden. During his 11-year-battle with cancer, he could not physically keep up with his landscaping. So, his dying wish was to have a memorial garden created in his memory.
“He very clearly said that he wanted a place for the boys and I to be able to go and remember how much he loved us,” his wife Amy Visconti said.
Amy and Al Visconti have two boys together. Joey is 10 years old. Nicky is 7 years old. Al Visconti had been battling synovial sarcoma since 2004, which started in his leg and eventually spread to his lungs. Yet, Amy said her husband always tried to keep his spirits up. (Read more)
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — When a Vietnam veteran briefly stopped in Hawaii on his way home from war, he vowed to return one day to honor the people who perished during the attack on Pearl Harbor. With just less than two months to live, Joseph Hooker realized his longtime dream on Wednesday.
The Marine Corps veteran, who has heart disease and cancer, traveled from his home in Essex, Maryland, to Honolulu to visit the site of the Japanese attack that pushed the United States into World War II. The Dream Foundation, which grants wishes for those who have life expectancies of a year or less, arranged for the journey.
Hooker’s brother and sister-in-law, who are his caregivers, took turns pushing him in a wheelchair as they went on a private tour of the battleship USS Missouri.
The Hawaii dream stems from a 20-minute stop in the islands in 1971 as Hooker headed home from Vietnam, Hooker said from his Waikiki hotel room Tuesday. He was let off the ship just long enough to make a phone call to his family and eat some ice cream. He promised to come back someday “to honor the men and women that gave their life at Pearl Harbor.”
More than four decades later, Hooker visited the spot where Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri and got a rare peek inside the captain’s cabin. “I’ve never seen a battleship like this before,” he said.
The Dream Foundation’s new program, Dreams for Veterans, made Hooker’s wish possible. In applying, Hooker wrote a letter saying that he longed to visit Pearl Harbor to “learn, touch and understand what happened there.”
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ESSEX – There is nothing stronger than a bond between brothers, and having four sisters makes that bond unbreakable.
Joe enlisted with the Marines when he was 17, leaving his kid brother Lester behind.
Joe served 4 years as a Marine and when he returned, who was waiting for him? None other than his brother.
Their bond remains unbroken today.
In fact, Joe lives with Lester and his wife. Joe, now 63 and battling cancer has had a dream 42 years in the making…(Read more)