The opening line to a Bible reading commonly delivered at weddings reads: “Love is patient.” Christopher and Sue Hazen have lived this, enduring rollercoaster-like peaks and valleys through their 17-year love story.
The high school sweethearts tried to marry for more than five years. Fate, however, had other plans.
“We tried several times to get married, but between graduate and law school, hurricanes [Irene and Superstorm Sandy], and beating cancer, it never happened,” Christopher said.
In 2016, Christopher was diagnosed with an 8-inch, 10-pound leiomyosarcoma — a form of soft-tissue sarcoma — in his leg. The cancerous tumor needed to be surgically removed, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Once again, the couple postponed their overdue nuptials. And it wasn’t even the last time they rescheduled.
With a new date set for August 5, the bride- and groom-to-be had planned an intimate ceremony at their home with family and friends. Two days before the big day, Christopher was back in the hospital, this time at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH).
“I was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in my leg and needed IV antibiotics,” he said.
Determined to tie the knot, Christopher and Sue decided for better or for worse, they were getting married on their scheduled day, even if it meant saying their vows in Christopher’s hospital room.
Love is kind
As the Hazen’s day arrived, the hospital staff worked behind the scenes to prepare SIUH’s chapel. To the couple’s pleasant surprise, it was everything they dreamed of.
“We thought for sure we were going to have to cancel the wedding, again,” Christopher said. “It wasn’t something we sought out, hospital staff overheard me mention we were supposed to get married and they pulled all of this together in short order.”
Following the ceremony, the bride and groom held a reception with family, friends and new hospital family in a VIP section created for the occasion — cake and all.
“We’re super grateful to everyone for making this happen here in the chapel," Sue said. "It was a beautiful service. I’m so happy.”