Southside Hospital Throws Wedding for Patient, Fiancée

Henry and Elizabeth Chavez with Southside Hospital Chaplain Stephen Unger.

BAY SHORE, NY – People might think that hospitals are simply the place where someone receives care when they are sick, but Southside Hospital went far beyond that definition by throwing a wedding for one of its patients and his fiancée on April 30.

Henry Chavez and his fiancée, Elizabeth, were planning to get married next April. But the couple wanted to exchange vows before Mr. Chavez, 35, who has a spinal cord tumor, started his chemotherapy and radiation at Southside Hospital. Hospital staff members were struck by this amazing, young couple, and wanted to help make their wedding dreams come true and so they went about putting the couple’s wedding plans into action.

White chairs with ribbons, a decorated archway and a white carpet runner were among the many decorations that adorned the hospital board room and turned it from a meeting room into a wedding reception area. The now Mrs. Chavez walked down the aisle to meet her groom and exchange vows before about 60 of their family members, friends and hospital staff with the help of Southside Hospital’s chaplain, Stephen Unger, a Lutheran minister.

After the wedding ceremony, Southside Hospital staff, who volunteered their time for the occasion, changed the room into a reception area complete with tables that had wedding favors specifically for the couple, sparkling cider and the couple’s favorite foods.

“It was an absolutely amazing site seeing this special couple get married and realizing all that the staff members from various departments put into this to make the Chavez’s wedding dream come true,” said Donna Moravick, NP, executive director of Southside Hospital and one of the people who helped create the wedding atmosphere. “I’m so proud of the staff and glad that we were able to make this important moment happen for one of our patients and his family.”

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