Any talks that Jennifer Hartman and Bill Reed may have had about marriage in their time together over the last 12 years never involved a hospital wedding. But Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was the setting on Thursday as the couple exchanged vows with their children and other family members looking on.
The plans came together quickly – in about two days – after a meeting on Tuesday between Jennifer, her family and her caregivers. She and Bill had been planning a summer wedding. But with Jennifer facing end-stage liver disease and a poor prognosis, the decision was made to move the ceremony up by several months.
“One of the things she mentioned in that meeting as a regret was that she and Bill had never gotten married,” said Helen Papeika, Jennifer's care coordinator. That's when several hospital staff members turned into wedding planners.
Dave Simmons, a Medical Center chaplain, officiated the ceremony, which also included guitar music from a music therapist and a wedding cake from Food Services. Patient Experience staff also arranged for flowers, balloons and other special touches.
“All we had to do was just be here, and get the marriage license,” Bill said. “We got married. A lot of crying, a lot of happiness.”
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