Final wish granted: Pa. couple gets married in hospital for mother on hospice

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Pa. couple gets married in hospital, granting mother's final wish
The Novaks quickly arranged a beautiful wedding in the ICU waiting room to honor the final wish of a mother battling breast cancer.

QUAKERTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "We were originally planning our wedding for September 16, 2023," said Hannah Novak. "And my mom went into the hospital."

Novak's mother, Debbie Kay LoRusso, was known for her big heart, her faith, and her multitude of professions including being a receptionist, personal caretaker, pharmacy technician, and more.

A stroke placed her in the hospital in September 2022, just about a year before Hannah's planned marriage to Jerry Novak.

"She had breast cancer years ago. She was in remission," said Hannah. "It came back full force, metastasized basically everywhere and she had no idea."

When she was placed on hospice and notified she only had a few days to live, LoRusso's final wish was to see her daughter get married.

One year removed from the wedding date, the family thought this wish would be impossible. But quick thinking on behalf of friends, family, and the staff at St. Luke's Hospital Upper Bucks Campus made her dream come true.

"The morning of, my coworkers helped my mom get dressed and ready," said Luke LoRusso, a nurse at St. Luke's and Hannah's brother. "Throughout my whole hospital we take pride in, like, helping people to do the small little things."

The wedding, held in the ICU waiting room, was fit with floral arrangements, decorative cakes, an officiant, a photographer, a decorative arch, and of course, close family and friends. And the impromptu ceremony had to come together even quicker than originally intended.

"I'm so glad the doctors told us to push it up because she ended up passing away in less than 24 hours," said Hannah.

Now a few months removed from their wedding, Hannah and Jerry are getting settled into a new home and working hard as a special education teacher and engineer respectively. They may also consider adding a cat to the family.

As for the original wedding date in September 2023, the couple plans to renew their vows and host a celebration for friends and family who could not attend the first ceremony.

There, Hannah plans to honor mother as well as her grandfather and younger brother, John Samuel LoRusso, who passed away suddenly after a brief illness in February 2022.

"All those that we lost this year, we'll find some way to honor each one of them," said Hannah.

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