Author: Community Contributor
Published: August 08, 2013
We all have dreams in life. Few of us are able to reach our dreams without the support of family and friends.
Michael Carter and Michelle Baird from Wadesville, Indiana, had a dream. Their dream was to be married on a beach in front of all their friends and family. However, after Michael was diagnosed with lung cancer in February, the couple feared their dream was lost forever.
“Our main focus after receiving the lung cancer diagnosis was to do whatever we could to fight for Michael,” said Michelle Carter.
Michael, with Michelle by his side, sought treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) in Zion, Illinois. With the dedication of Michael’s medical oncologist, Dr. Revathi Suppiah, his entire care team and the CTCA Mother Standard® of care, Michael and Michelle regained their hope.
The standard of care at CTCA revolves around their state-of-the-art conventional cancer treatment and the belief that every patient should be treated by the staff as if they were a personal family member.
“The care and personal attention we receive at CTCA at Midwestern is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced,” said Michele Carter. “There is an entire team of people dedicated to caring for Michael.”
Kathleen Byrd, RN, OCN, Care Manager at CTCA at Midwestern, is one of the clinical team members caring for Michael. One day, as she does with all of the patients under her care, she asked Michael, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Michael replied, jokingly, “Yes, can you get us married at Illinois Beach State Park?”
Michael, expecting that his request would go in one ear and out the other, never imagined what would come next.
Byrd jumped into action and contacted Illinois State Beach Park, a local hotel and convention center, to see what they would be able to do for the couple. Graciously, they offered the use of their facility for the ceremony at no charge, and included a seated dinner and honeymoon suite. Byrd also obtained a donated wedding cake and flowers.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Kathleen Byrd said modestly of her efforts to bring this couple’s dream to life. “And that’s how dreams are made – one step, one person, one friend at a time.”
On June 18, under a magnificent blue sky, on the shore of majestic Lake Michigan, the couple pronounced their love for one another. With daughter, Savannah, by her mother’s side, Carl Williamson, a Chaplin at CTCA at Midwestern, made the nuptial official and presented the couple as Mr. and Mrs. Michael Carter.
Brittani McCafferty, LPN, Care Manager Assistant at CTCA at Midwestern sang at the ceremony while Byrd’s husband, Cedric, acted as photographer and CTCA patients David and Vivian Blain donated wedding bands.
“It was absolutely magical,” said Michelle Carter.
“I am completely blown away why someone that has only known my family and me for such a short period of time would go to such lengths,” said Michael Carter. “It’s a memory that we will carry with us forever.”