Something unusual occurred on the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus yesterday – a wedding. Francisco Jeronimo Lucas and Marcelina Pablo Bautista planned to marry in a courthouse ceremony on Jan. 4, but their plans were dashed when Lucas was admitted to Highland Hospital on the couple’s wedding day.

Mr. Lucas and Ms. Bautista have been together for over 20 years and decided to marry several years ago. But when Lucas was diagnosed with gastric cancer, their desire to wed took on a new urgency. They did not want to put the wedding off any further. If they could not get to the wedding, they decided the wedding would have to come to them.

Lucas asked Palliative Care Social Worker Anne James if she could help. Together, they arranged for an officiant to come perform the ceremony in their hospital room.

“I’m very grateful to everyone here helping us get married. I thank God that He brought us all together,” Lucas said in Mam; his daughter Yohana Jeronimo Pablo acting as translator.

AHS staff provided flowers for the bride, balloons, and a wedding cake.

“I’m just so happy. In palliative care, we do so many sad things and have a lot of hard conversations. So being able to participate in a wedding brings me so much joy,” said James.

The ceremony was performed by a hospital chaplain and witnessed by the couple’s children; Yohana, Liliana, and Noé Jeronima Pablo. AHS staff members Anne James, Dr. Adam Mortimer, Dr. Forrest Yeh, Eleanor Ajala, and Nurse Crystal Sensabaugh attended.

“Life is unfair in many ways. It’s nice to see some joy in the hospital,” Dr. Mortimer said.