On Valentine’s Day, 2002, Katie Kirkpatrick, then a freshman at Rochester College (a small Christian college in Rochester Hills, Michigan), was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Undaunted, Katie strove to keep up with her studies, but she suffered another setback in 2003 when she was diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumor wrapped around her pulmonary artery.
On January 15, 2005, twenty-one-year-old Katie—the girl “with a contagious smile and unrelenting optimism” who had been battling cancer for three years—married twenty-three-year-old Lapeer County sheriff’s deputy Nick Goodwin, her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, at Church of Christ in Hazel Park, Michigan.
Photos were taken by Romain Blanquart.
Katie Kirkpatrick and her fiance, Nick, rest prior to their wedding. Katie has terminal cancer and spends hours in chemotherapy. Here Nick waits while she finishes one of the sessions.
Even in pain and dealing with her organs shutting down, with the help of morphine, Katie took care of every single wedding plan. Her dress had to be adjusted several times due to her constant weight loss.
An expected guest was her oxygen tank. Katie had to use it during the ceremony and reception. Katie’s parents look on.
Katie, in a wheelchair, listening to her husband and friends serenading her.
In the middle of the party Katie had to rest for a bit and catch her breath. The pain doesn’t allow her to stand for long periods of time.
Katie passed away just five days after her wedding at the McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.
Nick said of the wedding and Katie’s passing:
It was wonderful. It was a dream come true. She was the most beautiful angel ever—just caring and selfless, and such an inspiration to everyone. She was always smiling no matter what happened, no matter what news she got. She was as close to perfect as they come.
She did not let sickness stop her from living, take away the hope or faith that made her believe she had a future. She had a lovely wedding and she had love and she gave love and love doesn’ t die. And that is how Katie beat cancer.