La santé

Christmas wedding miracle at MUHC for woman with advanced ovarian cancer – Montreal Gazette

At the ceremony on Saturday, groom Daves Lachance, 41, told bride Kelly Bédard, 24: “For better and for worse — for always.”

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It was so last minute that they hadn’t prepared vows. But what Daves Lachance told his bride, Kelly Bédard, “could not have been more appropriate,” said Liat Lev-Ary, the notary who officiated the couple’s emergency wedding ceremony at the McGill University Health Centre’s Glen site on Saturday.

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“He said, ‘For better and for worse — for always.’ They started crying. And we all started crying.”

Bédard, 24, learned while pregnant with the couple’s fourth child that she has advanced ovarian cancer.

“We thought about our family,” said Lachance, who has three children from a previous relationship. The oldest of the seven is 14; the youngest, the only girl, was born last summer. “We wanted to do the best for our family — all of us together.”

Only days ago, the Mont-Laurier couple, who had already discussed marriage, decided they wanted a Christmas wedding. They asked the medical and nursing staff for help arranging it, “but it’s not easy,” said Lachance, 41.

One of the nurses at the MUHC knew a lawyer who posted a request late last week on a mothers’ Facebook community page for help making a “Christmas wedding miracle” happen.

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Lev-Ary saw the post; helping the couple felt like “a calling,” she said. She had officiated a wedding under similar circumstances and knew what to do. She rearranged weekend and holiday plans with her own family — she and her husband have four children — to make herself available.

When a couple want to marry, a 20-day notice of the impending marriage must be made; it’s known as the posting of the banns. The law grants Lev-Ary the ability, as a notary, to dispense with the waiting period. She has used it only once before: in that case, the groom, who was gravely ill, died three days after the wedding.

Money was an issue for the couple; Bédard has been in and out of hospital the past seven months, mostly in. Lachance, who is on Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail payments following a workplace injury, does not want to leave her side and has been sleeping at the hospital. Her parents and his mother are looking after the children.

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An anonymous donor came forward on Facebook to offer to cover Lev-Ary’s fee, which she had reduced.

“I wanted to help. It wasn’t about the money,” she said.

An MUHC nurse acted as the liaison, providing the necessary contact information. “We were all focused on making it happen,” Lev-Ary said.

On Saturday Bédard applied makeup, got out of her hospital bed and, although she is weak and frail, walked to a family room. She wore a hospital gown — drain tubes made it impossible to put on a dress — and the groom admired his bride, telling her again and again how beautiful she is.

Notary Lev-Ary donned a black robe and the mothers of the bride and groom served as witnesses to the wedding. Lachance’s sister, Ann, was in attendance. Several nurses stood at the door, joking that they were “the wedding crashers.” Following the ceremony, the couple were toasted with non-alcoholic bubbly.

“Life is precious. Time is a gift,” Lev-Ary posted later on Facebook. “Let’s hug the people we love — and stop to appreciate what we have.”

A toast with non-alcoholic bubbly on Dec. 25 in a family room at the McGill University Health Centre, following the wedding of Kelly Bédard and Daves Lachance.
A toast with non-alcoholic bubbly on Dec. 25 in a family room at the McGill University Health Centre, following the wedding of Kelly Bédard and Daves Lachance. Photo courtesy of Liat Lev-Ary

sschwartz@postmedia.com

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