There are often tears at weddings. At Sarah Nagy's wedding Saturday, however, there were far more than usual.
Sarah Nagy's father, Scott Nagy, has late-stage metastatic urethral cancer. When he was diagnosed last November, he made it his mission to be present for his daughter's wedding. It wasn't easy -- the Nagys had to work hard to move the wedding up several months, but there was no doubt it was worth it.
"... It is what I wanted since I was a little girl, for my father to walk me down the aisle," Sarah Nagy told The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
For the medical staff at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, Scott Nagy's wish was both a challenge and an inspiration.
"We knew all along his goal was to survive until his daughter's wedding," nurse practitioner Jacky Uljanic, who oversaw the effort, told HLN. "Obviously he persevered."
Nagy, who has been a patient at the center since August, somehow managed to keep up his strength despite his doctor's uncertainty.
A few weeks before the wedding, Uljanic and her team were given the green light to move forward with plans to get Nagy to the happy event. "We made a 'wedding mission' for him and made different goals for him to achieve," Uljanic said. "He was more than willing and able to participate."
A local ambulance company also donated the use of an ambulance and two emergency medical technicians as a wedding gift. Uljanic and a few other team members from the cancer center volunteered their time to make sure Nagy got his wish.
On the day of the wedding, there was all the usual hustle and bustle. As the bride was getting ready, doing her hair and fastening her gown, the nurses at the Seidman Cancer Center were helping her father into his suit. They dressed him in a charcoal jacket that accommodated the wires and tubing running from his body. His beard and hair had been freshly cut for the occasion. Uljanic passed around tissues. As Nagy was wheeled into the ambulance to make the trip to the church, staff gathered around and cheered him on.
Upon seeing her father at the church, Sarah Nagy burst into tears. Her father gently chided her, warning her not to ruin her makeup. Uljanic said that, up until that point, she had held in her emotions for the sake of the mission.
"When I saw his daughter, she was just sobbing, and she was so happy," Uljanic said. "That's when I just broke down."
Hand in hand, father and daughter went down the aisle, he on a gurney and she walking next to him. Though there wasn't a dry eye in the church pews, Scott Nagy was all smiles.
After all, he, like his family and his devoted medical staff, had worked hard for that moment. He had been to the bridal shower, been with his daughter when she picked out her dress. Seeing her now, giving her away to be married, was his ultimate victory.
"There are no guarantees in life," Nagy said. "This is a bonus."