“It's Just Amazing”: Bride of Makeshift Hospital Wedding

Long-time sweethearts battling a terminal illness traded vows in a San Diego hospital room Friday morning.

Jose Sanchez and Blanca Carrillo have been together for 22 years and have two children together, but the two never "made it official" until now.

Sanchez has been a patient at Villa Pomerado for several months and is likely to be there indefinitely as he puts up a fight against Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Carrillo said she and Sanchez had discussed the possibility of getting a minister to come to Sanchez's room to marry the two, but when she mentioned it to their social worker and hospital staff, magic happened.

Nurses, administrative staff and even the hospital kitchen teamed up to put together a ceremony and reception for the bride and groom. A minister, family, friends, nurses, staff and the social worker, Lindsey, shuffled in to see the two tie the knot - camera phones everywhere.

"It's just amazing," said Carrillo. She said the nurses and staff at the hospital have already been so good to them, "but this goes above and beyond."

And, she said, they did it all in less than a week.

The two only expected four of five family members at the last-minute ceremony, but video taken in the hospital room showed at least a dozen guests.

Sanchez said before the ceremony that his battle with ALS has been tough, but with family by his side, it's not as bad.

"I thank God that I got them," Sanchez said through tears. "They are my power."

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells from the brain to the spinal cord and then the muscles. The patient loses motor abilities and often become paralyzed before the disease finally leads to their death.

Sanchez struggles with speech because of the tracheostomy assisting with his breathing, which can damage the vocal cords when it's placed.

Despite having to strain, he thanked his family.

"There's so many people with ALS that feel it's the end of their life," he said. "Maybe it is. But with family, it helps a lot. They make you feel happy. Thank God."

The Director of Villa Pomerado's Sub Acute Unit - the department that cares for patients with traumatic brain injuries or require extra respiratory care - said all the departments banded together to make the day special for the couple.

"The staff was more excited," said Joel Alberto jokingly. "They were looking forward to Friday. Now today it seems like the staff is more excited than the couple is."

Alberto said in his six and a half years with the facility, he's never sponsored a wedding.

"And I'm not sure if I'm doing this again," he said. "Not very frequent, however, very special."

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