GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A woman awaiting a lung transplant got the surprise of a lifetime in Grand Rapids this week.
Her journey has involved seven different hospitals, weeks in the ICU on life support, and rehabilitation.
But now, a promise of forever is adding to her hope for the future.
Kaitlyn Anne Sterling and Stan Myaskovskiy met at a jiujitsu academy in Houghton, back in 2017. They say it was love at first sight.
They’ve been together ever since. But the couple — used to combat on the mat — found themselves in a different, unexpected fight. Kaitlyn became ill with flu-like symptoms last fall, and they couldn’t figure out why.
“We tested everything under the sun and everything kept coming back negative, negative, negative ... and at this time she was getting more and more sick,” said Stan Myaskovskiy.
In December, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with antisynthetase syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder. That, along with lengthy hospital stays, took a toll on her lungs. She was put in a medically induced coma for months and just woke up in March. Throughout all of this, her family and her boyfriend were by her side.
SOMETHING GOOD: Holland woman jumps into action after getting in 3-vehicle crash
“It definitely made me understand that I want to obviously make a commitment, but I had a ring that I had picked out before she ever got sick,” said Myaskovskiy.
He finally purchased that ring. It was his way of putting his trust into the universe and a symbol of hope for Kaitlyn.
“I thought this was a really important thing for her to look forward to the future, to give her strength and to remember I have a lot to live for, I have a future husband to live for, I have my family that loves me to live for too,” said Myaskovskiy.
With the help of nurses at Mary Free Bed, he was able to pull off the surprise proposal Thursday night. Kaitlyn didn’t see it coming.
“I was totally surprised and wasn't really expecting it; I was just so happy to finally have it done,” said Kaitlyn Anne Sterling. She’s currently rebuilding her strength as she awaits a double lung transplant. But now, that's not the only thing she’s looking forward to. She says she’s also looking forward to wedding planning!
“I think the most important part is that she's looking forward to that, and that she is looking to that future, and she has that smile on her face,” said Myaskovskiy.
The newly engaged couple haven’t set a date just yet. They have a GoFundMe page for Kaitlyn’s continued medical costs. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.
SOMETHING GOOD: 250+ volunteers help repair 22 Kent Co. veterans' homes