ROSCOE, Ill. -- Sixteen months ago, Ethan Menges' family members gathered around his hospital bed, as a life-support machine chugged and beeped in the background.
The mood could not have been any different from that at the May 14 gathering at First Congregational Community Church in Roscoe, where a piano played the Bridal March as French doors were flung open revealing Jordan Mathieu, Menges' bride, at their wedding ceremony.
"A year and a half ago, the doctors were wanting us to plan his funeral," Brittney Menges, Ethan's sister, said with tears welling in her eyes. "Now, we're at his wedding."
Menges, the 2010 Genoa-Kingston High School valedictorian and four-sport athlete, collapsed Jan. 22, 2015, while leaving a Chicago Bulls game and was taken to nearby Rush Hospital, where doctors treated a flu-like virus that developed into walking pneumonia that infected his lungs and spread to his bloodstream.
Mathieu and family members stayed by Menges' side as he worked his way through a rocky recovery, which included doctors amputating all of his limbs because of poor circulation.
Menges' final hospital stay was at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he completed a month of intense physical rehab and training on using his prostheses. It was in his room at RIC where he proposed to Jordan and she accepted. They set an ambitious wedding date for May 14, five months to the day Menges left RIC.
"It's weird because for the majority of our relationship, this past year and a half, two years, was in a hospital setting, not the typical things you do going out on dates, going to movies, hanging out with families, it was bedside," Menges said before the start of the wedding ceremony. "That means more than the world to me, because I know she'll always be there, she's been there through that, I'd have to really screw something up."
The wedding ceremony included personal touches, such as Ethan entering the chapel to Darth Vader's theme song, "The Imperial March." Pastor Lisa Abb helped the couple tie the knot, and during the ring ceremony, Jordan placed Ethan's ring on a necklace around his neck as he beamed with pride.
The couple walked back down the aisle arm-in-arm after the pastor pronounced them husband and wife, something Menges' father Ron Menges admitted was difficult to imagine from his hospital bed.
"It's great to still have him with me. I mean, it's just a beautiful moment today, this time last year, I didn't think I'd have my son and now I have a daughter-in-law," Ron Menges said after the ceremony. "... What they've gone through already is more than what anybody would ever go through in their life, and they've gone through it even before they actually tied the knot. So, I mean, when they say through sick and health, you can't get any sicker than what Ethan was."
Source: The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle