Not a lot of brides schedule a hospital visit on their wedding day, but 22-year-old Kierstynn Foster Rozema had a special reason for breaking social norms.
When Rozema was only sixteen-years-old, doctors at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital diagnosed her with Leukemia. Doctors initially missed the signs, so when her mom brought her back into the hospital, it was almost too late.
“They told my mom that was the last possible day that she could have brought me in with a fighting chance,” she relates to People Magazine. “Ninety-nine percent of my body was saturated with cancer cells.”
For the next two years, Rozema would be in and out of the hospital, getting chemo treatments for her cancer. During those times, doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital experienced the big moments of her junior and senior years of high school with her.
“I won homecoming queen my senior year and all of those special moments I shared with them,” she shares. “They were the reason it was able to happen.”
So when Rozema, who is cancer free, married her college sweetheart, she wanted everyone at the hospital to experience this special moment too. She says, “It was one of my favorite moments of the entire day, to walk into that place not being there for a treatment but to be there in a celebration kind of way.”
It was also special for her husband, Dan, who met Rozema while she was finishing her last year of chemo. “He has seen how much it shaped who I am…to be there and to be able to thank the people that made it possible was really powerful for him.”
The hospital staff felt equally touched. “It’s very gratifying and very humbling. It was a day filled with tears and a lot of hugs and happiness,” Dr. James Fahner, the division chief of pediatric hematology and oncology at Helen DeVos, told People.
“That is the greatest accomplishment for us as a healthcare team to know these families have come through this journey and are able to live normal healthy lives,” he adds. “That’s the most wonderful tribute.”
Rozema continues to give back; she works at the Make-A-Wish Foundation helping grant sick kids’ wishes.
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