A wedding story to share: Katie Kirkpatrick

I received an email from a friend which tells a story about a brave young lady who held off cancer to celebrate the happiest day of her life. I am so moved by the story and I just want to share this.


Note:
The photos below were taken by Romain Blanquart, a staff photographer with the Detroit Free Press.

The Story…
Katie had chased cancer, once only to have it return-to clog her lungs and grab hold of her heart. Breathing was difficult now, she had to use oxygen. The pain in her back was so intense it broke through the morphine that was supposed to act as a shield. Her organs were shutting down but it would not stop her from marrying Nick Godwin, 23, who was in love with Katie since 11th grade.

Her name is Katie Kirkpatrick, 21 yrs old.. Next to her is her fiancé, Nick, 23.
This picture was taken prior to their wedding January 11th, 2005. Katie has terminal cancer and spends hours in chemotherapy. Here Nick awaits while she finishes one of the sessions…

Even in pain and dealing with her organs shutting down, with the help of morphine, Katie took care of every single part of the wedding planning. Her dress had to be adjusted several times due to Katie’s constant weight loss.

An expected guest was her oxygen tank. Katie had to use it during the ceremony and reception.
The other couple in this picture is Nick’s parents, very emotional with the wedding and of course to see their son marrying the girl he fell in love when he was an adolescent.

Katie, in a wheel chair listening to her husband and friends singing to her.

In the middle of the party, Katie had to rest for a bit and catch her breath. The pain does not allow her to stand for long period of time.

Katie died 5 days after her wedding. To see a fragile woman dress as bride with a beautiful smile makes you think… happiness is always there within reach, no matter how long it lasts…..lets enjoy life and don’t live a complicated life. Life is too short.

On Valentine’s Day 2002, Katie Kirkpatrick, then a freshman at Rochester College (a small Christian college in Rochester Hills, Michigan) was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Undaunted, Katie strove to keep up with her studies, but she suffered another setback in 2003 when she was diagnosed with “an inoperable lung tumor wrapped around her pulmonary artery.” Nonetheless, in 2004 the resilient Katie took part in champion cyclist Lance Armstrong’s “Ride for the Roses” cancer fundraiser:

Dr. Craig Bowman of the Bible faculty spearheaded a campus and area-wide effort that raised $28,000 which made one of Katie’s dreams come true: riding with six-time Tour de France winner and fellow cancer survivor Lance Armstrong in his Ride for the Roses cancer fundraiser.

Says Katie of Armstrong, “I like his attitude and his perseverance. I admire him for the way he dealt with his cancer, and his attitude: ‘You know what, this isn’t going to beat me!'”

On 15 January 2005, 21-year-old Katie — the girl “with a contagious smile and unrelenting optimism” who had been battling cancer for three years — married Lapeer County sheriff’s deputy Nick Godwin, her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, at Church of Christ in Hazel Park, Michigan. Katie Kirkpatrick Godwin passed away at the McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, on 20 January 2005, just five days after her wedding. Her husband, Nick, said of the wedding and Katie’s passing: “It was wonderful. It was a dream come true. She was the most beautiful angel ever — just caring and selfless, and such an inspiration to everyone. She was always smiling no matter what happened, no matter what news she got. She was as close to perfect as they come.”

She did not let sickness stop her from living, take away the hope or faith that made her believe she had a future. She had a lovely wedding and she had love and she gave love and love doesn’t die. And that is how Katie beat cancer.
Additional photographs of Katie and her wedding can be viewed on the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) web site.

Katie’s Spa in Lapeer, Michigan (a business which specializes in services to cancer patients), is named in Katie’s memory, as is Katie’s Wings, a non-profit organization established to help bring assistance to people affected by cancer.

Sadly, the event that likely prompted circulation of this item in March 2009 was the death of Katie’s father, David B. Kirkpatrick, who passed away that month after his own battle with cancer.

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