Natasha Steels-Webb and her colleagues came up with the idea to create boxes filled with wedding essentials to pull off hospital ceremonies
A team of caring nurses is helping to fulfill the wedding dreams of their end-of-life patients.
Natasha Steels-Webb, a critical outreach nurse practitioner, and her colleagues at the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust in England came up with the idea to create wedding boxes, offering patients the opportunity to say "I do" in the hospital.
"Myself and a colleague decided to create the wedding box after a patient we were caring for had become very unwell and it was clear she was not going to recover," Steels-Webb said in a post on the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust's website.
"She had been with her current partner for many years, but they just hadn't got around to getting married — and this was something they both wanted," she continued.
After rallying together and pulling off that patient's nuptials, the hospital staff was inspired to grant even more wedding wishes — and elevate the experience.
"We felt that we could do something to make future weddings even more special with decorative items, artificial flowers and balloons on standby for such an event," Steels-Webb explained.
To make their vision a reality, the staff reached out to the local community for help. Following a social media appeal, donations poured in.
So far, there are wedding boxes available at Peterborough City Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, which members of staff can access from the chaplaincy team.
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And Steels-Webb and her fellow wedding-wish granters are only getting started. The group is now working to build a directory of photographers, bakeries and other wedding-related vendors that could be called in to help at short notice.
They are also keeping a growing wish list of other items, including wedding dresses, chair covers and decorations, to be added to the boxes.
“It is difficult to put into words what a difference these weddings make, but you can see the appreciation in the eyes of the patient and their loved ones that you have been able to make a difference — not purely because it is your job, but because you truly care," Steels-Webb said in the post.
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