A day nearly missed

Nathan Domenighini
Tremont resident Kim Carroll receives a kiss from her daughter, Katy, who married Mortonite Jon Witzig Saturday morning at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. The wedding, originally planned to take place in Grace Church in Morton, was moved to the hospital where Kim has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Staff at the hospital helped the newlywed couple bring the wedding to her.

It was unconventional — perhaps a little unexpected — but, for one bride’s mother, Saturday morning’s wedding “was absolutely beautiful.”

That was the sentiment of Kim Carroll, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and has been undergoing treatment at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center since mid-May.

Carroll, of Tremont, watched her daughter, Katy, marry her new husband, Mortonite Jon Witzig.

The location was far from the echoing ceilings of a local church — Kim would not have been able to make it there due to the circumstances.

Instead, employees at the hospital brought the wedding to her.

Ten days prior to the wedding, Kim and her husband, Dana, realized the possibility that she would not be able to make it to her daughter’s wedding, which was supposed to take place at Grace Church in Morton.

That was when third-floor manager Jill Kane, and third-floor patient care facilitator, Jill Peterson, erased any chances a mother was going to miss her daughter’s wedding.

First, Kane needed permission from the hospital administrator to begin a 10-day planning effort to have the newlywed Witzig couple elope at the hospital.

“I made one phone call to the administrator and got the blessing,” Kane said.

She and Peterson manned the media-desk-turned-organ — running the sound and music — throughout the 20-minute wedding in the 700 Auditorium at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. Kane said she could not hold back tears during the wedding.

“It’s just a breath of fresh air,” she said. “It’s just one of the reasons why we are here.”

Peterson said planning the wedding was a welcome challenge.

“We just didn’t know how, where or what,” she said.

“It was amazing,” she added. “It was just a special day for (Kim).”

Kane took notice of Kim’s demeanor weeks leading up to the wedding, she said.

“She looked sadder than normal,” Kane said. “I knew I had to do something.”

Kim’s husband, Dana, said he hoped there would be some way to get Kim to the wedding, but he understood her chances of leaving the hospital were slim.

“We had hopes of something working out,” Dana said. “(Hospital staff) bent over backwards for us.”

“They have really brought this thing to my whole family,” he added.

He said he was surprised by the response by Kane and Peterson and their willingness to bring the wedding to the hospital.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that isn’t always the case,” Dana added. “It’s very humbling.”

The wedding ended later that morning, and a video was taken to Grace Church in Morton where it was shown to hundreds of guests who were unaware of what happened that morning.

Knowing the chances of her mother missing her wedding, Katy said it would have been difficult to change plans. Regardless, the wedding had to be Saturday.

If Kim could not have been there, Katy said the whole day would have been different.

“It would have been really hard,” she said. “I wanted to include her.”

Her new husband, Jon, said he could not imagine it happening any other way.

“It was most special to us because we wanted to include (Katy’s) mom,” he said. “Being here was truly a blessing.”

For Kim, the day was more than a mother’s dream. See her daughter marry provided a boost to her morale.

“I can’t say enough about (OSF Saint Francis),” Kim said.

“It motivated me to keep going,” she added. “Now, I am anxious to get home.”