The Heartland Hospice team was introduced to 23-year-old patient, Kasi Perry, when they were contacted by staff at Auburn Village Rehab and Skilled Nursing for a hospice evaluation. After the birth of her son she was diagnosed with respiratory failure from unknown causes. By the time Kasi was signed onto hospice services, she had been on a ventilator for four months.
“At first Kasi was standoffish because she felt that by receiving hospice care, she was giving up hope,” commented Kris McPherson, Heartland Spiritual Care Coordinator. He reflected, “It was also difficult initially, as Kasi was unable to speak.” There were only three ways to communicate with Kasi: reading her lips, texting, and physical touch. It took some time but the Heartland team assured Kasi they would be with her for every part of her journey. “We eventually became a part of Kasi’s family…and she became a part of ours,” remembers Kris.
Upon learning of Kasi’s dying wish to marry Mike Thornton, her long-time boyfriend, her Heartland team, the staff at Auburn Village and the community quickly joined together to create her dream wedding. The activity director provided her own wedding dress, photographers donated their time and her favorite meal was prepared for some 75 guests and wedding party. A beautiful event was organized!
"The moment I will never forget was when her two-year-old son Liam, seeing his Mommy being wheeled down the hallway in her wedding gown, ran to her and held her hand the rest of the way down the 'aisle.' The wedding was a moment none of us present will ever forget,” commented Kris, who also officiated the ceremony.
Six weeks and two days after the wedding, surrounded by her loved ones and care team while in the loving embrace of her husband, Kasi took her last breath. "Kasi was the most courageous person I ever knew. She made an impact on many, many lives, an impact that will never fade!” commented Kris.
To view a news clip of the Thornton’s wedding, click here.