CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A woman and her fiancé tied the knot Wednesday in a hospital room at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte so that the bride’s father would be there to give her away.
Jubal Early Kirby is terminally ill with Pulmonary Fibrosis, an incurable lung disease.
Kirby has been in the Charlotte hospital for nearly three weeks and has not improved. His family has explored all options to no avail.
The 49-year-old was moved to the intensive care unit of the hospital and has to wear a non-invasive ventilator to breath.
Kirby’s daughter, Kaila, was engaged to be married, but the wedding wasn’t slated to happen until July 2016.
Kaila says she and her fiancé Daniel decided they wanted to move their wedding date to Wednesday as they knew it was “just a matter of time before dad would pass.”
“[I] just kind of wanted my dad to give me away on my wedding day,” Kaila said.
Kirby’s nurse, Meredith Garolds, hear the family’s last-minute plan and knew she had to help.
“I overheard the family talking about the daughter getting married and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m a newlywed, this has to be special.'”
Meredith talked to her charge nurse and started planning the details.
“I clocked in at 6:45 and the wedding was at noon,” she said.
The nurses provided balloons and cake. Kaila’s older sister went to the Target to get Jubal Kirby a shirt and a veil and bouquet for Kaila.
An employee at the store heard about the last minute wedding and paid for all those items.
“Kaila really wanted her dad to be a part of the wedding,” said pastor Rex E. Burelson, former pastor of Cedar Grove Baptist in Anson County. “Just a few months ago they had no idea this was going to happen.”
Burelson knows the family and performed the ceremony inside the ICU hospital room.
“I wanted to do this for Kaila,” he said. “She may not have gotten everything she imagined on her wedding day but she got the most important part – to spend it with her dad.”
“It’s moments like this that make me appreciate my career – to make me become a nurse. Stuff like this happens far and few between so it was quite the blessing,” Garolds said. “It was on his bucket list, and now, he can rest peacefully.”
This was the family’s second wedding in a hospital this week.
Kirby got married himself on Monday to the woman he’s been together with for 26 years. Kaila is one of two daughters and the first to get married.
Officials say Kirby understood what was going on during the wedding and had a smile on his face throughout the entire ceremony.
“I am happy, but sad, because I wanted my dad to stand beside me,” Kaila said. “He’s my best friend.”