WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Jose Salazar has been in and out of hospitals for three years since being diagnosed with a now stage 4 terminal colon cancer. After 30 years and three children, he was finally given the opportunity to wed Luz Rodriguez, courtesy of the White Plains Hospital crew.
"We've been battling to do this," Salazar said while fighting back tears. "The nurses here are the best."
Salazar and Rodriguez of New Rochelle were united in a chapel inside the hospital Friday afternoon by Quincy Lawton, a Brewster resident and member of the U.S. Coast Guard. He was asked to officiate the event by his wife and White Plains Hospital Emergency Room Manager Kristen Lawton.
"I was on my way home from Staten Island with the Coast Guard when my wife called me," Lawton said. "I usually do weddings on the Coast Guard. It's a little certification I have to help people."
Salazar's older sister Jennifer Vargas traveled from Atlanta and was among the many family members in attendance.
"Every time [Salazar and Rodriguez] would talk and plan for a wedding, there was another obstacle," Vargas said. "By the grace of God and with help from the hospital, Jose gets to be married. His dream was to get married."
Vargas helped raise her younger brother Jose and said she was thankful for the hospital's efforts to give him the special day.
"I love him so much. I almost feel like his mother," Vargas said. "A mother shouldn't have to watch her son die."
The White Plains Hospital helped with the wedding by contacting the city to obtain a marriage license and providing a photographer, flowers, minister and music.
White Plains Mayor Thomas M. Roach was also a witness to the ceremony alongside Rodriguez's stepmom and other extended family members.
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