GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A couple moved their wedding from northern Michigan to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to ensure the bride’s father could be a part of it.
Rick Kitchen got to Mary Free Bed Feb. 1 after suffering a stroke that took away his ability to walk and sit up on his own. His daughter, Jaslyn, was set to get married on Feb. 13 near their home in Cadillac.
When the family realized he wouldn’t be able to attend the ceremony, they worked with the hospital to bring the wedding to him.
It was a big goal of Kitchen’s to walk his daughter down the aisle, so the staff got to work to make sure it would happen — all without his knowledge.
“Mary Free Bed really has a good family sense … we all work as a team to make the patients’ goals happen,” said registered nurse Briana Abney. “This was a big goal of Rick’s to be able to walk his daughter down the aisle.”
Kitchen was surprised to turn the corner and see his daughter in her wedding dress. The ceremony was held in the hospital, where he was provided with clothes to wear and a physical therapist to help him walk down the aisle.
A music therapist even learned to play “Daddy” by Abby Anderson so they could have a father-daughter dance.
“Being a part of something that special is an honor,” said physical therapist Tim Spaulding. “It’s something I’ll remember forever.”