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CAMC Memorial staff members arrange wedding for cancer patient

By Ben Calwell, Metro Reporter
CAMC Memorial Division nurses Theresa Sexton (left), June Gallagher (center) and health unit clerk Kaylee Knox were among the many staff members on Oncology Floor 5 South that helped prepare a wedding and reception for patient Joe Booker and his fiancee, Jackie Bryan. They even turned a large hospital room into a honeymoon suite. For their efforts, they won the hospital’s Heart and Soul Award. Courtesy photos
A hospital room on Oncology Floor 5 South at CAMC Memorial Division was turned into a honeymoon suite for cancer patient Joe Booker and his fiancee, Jackie Bryan. The May 7 wedding took place in the hospital’s chapel, with a reception in a conference room.
Registered Nurse Melanie Griffith, a former florist, created the flower arrangements for patient Joe Booker and his fiancee. The couple were married May 7 at CAMC Memorial Division.
What’s a wedding without champagne? Nurses and other staff members at CAMC Memorial Division’s Oncology Floor 5 South provided champagne and other goodies for patient Joe Booker’s May 7 wedding at the hospital.

As Mary Booker of Charleston describes it, “Florence Nightengale still lives in the nurses and all the staff” on the Oncology Floor 5 South at CAMC Memorial Division.

On May 7, her son, Joe, of South Hills, who, at the time, was a cancer patient on 5 South, married his fiancee, Jackie Bryan, in the hospital chapel. Meanwhile, a team of nurses and other staff members transformed a large hospital room into a honeymoon suite for the newlyweds, complete with flowers, mood lighting and decorations.

“We should always give praise where praise is due, and my family would like to thank every department that shared in the wedding they prepared for my son and his fiancee. There couldn’t have been a more beautiful wedding and honeymoon suite anywhere,” Booker said.

Jennifer Ferrell, 5 South/Acute Infusion Services nurse manager, said that when word got out that Joe and his fiancee were planning a wedding, her staff wanted to get involved.

“Our social worker and case manager found out about them wanting to get married and told the rest of the staff. My staff immediately started planning the wedding,” Ferrell said in an email.

The May 7 wedding ceremony was held in the hospital’s chapel, followed by a reception in a conference room.

“They created them a reception in a conference room and a honeymoon suite in one of our bigger rooms,” Ferrell said.

The nurses and staff turned the hospital room into a honeymoon suite that had a beach scene. There were plenty of flowers, lights, strawberries, scattered rose petals and even champagne.

“One of our RNs, Melanie Griffith, used to be a florist, and she arranged the bride’s flowers and the flowers for the reception. The case manager and social worker brought in the cake and some decorations and many other staff helped with the honeymoon suite,” she said.

Ferrell said her staff is very caring and always goes the extra mile to help patients.

They “do things like this all of the time, but this was extra special, so I nominated them for a Heart and Soul Award that is given at CAMC and they won.”

Booker said the efforts of the hospital staff will always be remembered.

“It was beautiful and unbelievable; there were balloons, candles, white lights and rose petals. The dietary unit also fixed sandwiches,” Booker said.

“We thank everyone that helped to make this one of the happiest days of our lives and theirs. We can always see the dedication of those that have been called to their career and don’t do them just as a job,” she said.


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