Couple Turns Hospital ICU Into Wedding Chapel as Groom Battles Cancer

PHOTO:Caleb Hanby married Bethany Davidson while in the ICU at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. PlayMary Lou Dodson/Vanderbilt University Medical Center
WATCH Couple Weds in ICU as Groom Battles Cancer

An intensive care unit was recently turned into wedding chapel for one couple anxious to get married before it was too late.

Caleb Hanby and Bethany Davidson were married at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center last week, just hours after Hanby was rushed to the hospital due to breathing problems, according to the hospital.

Hanby, 28, was diagnosed last year with a rare cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma that affected his skeletal muscle in the jaw.

The couple had already planned for a quick wedding after the terminal diagnosis, but at the hospital Hanby was deteoriating quickly and they still had weeks before their wedding date. As a result the couple decided they should marry that day before Hanby's health got even worse, according to the hospital.

“I knew it needed to happen that day,” said Davidson, 26, on the Vanderbilt University Medical Center website. “I couldn’t live without the opportunity to be married to my soul mate.”

While they didn't have a lot of time to turn the ICU room into a lavish wedding space, the hospital staff and family and friends jumped into action. The ICU medical receptionist found extra bouquets to adorn the room and ordered a special wedding cake rush-ordered from the cafeteria, according to the hospital.

Davidson, wearing a green sweatshirt instead of the traditional white gown, carried a small bouquet from the hospital gift shop. The groom wore a hospital gown with a small boutinnere affixed to the front. The processional involved a nurse in scrubs scattering rose petals and Dr. Todd Rice, the attending physician for the ICU.

PHOTO:While the couple had an upcoming wedding date, they decided to marry after Hanbys health declined rapidly. Mary Lou Dodson/Vanderbilt University Medical Center
PHOTO:While the couple had an upcoming wedding date, they decided to marry after Hanby's health declined rapidly.

“They’ve made us feel like we’re the most important people at this hospital, with all that they’ve done,” Davidson said on the hospital website.

Brittney Woodard, 25, a friend of the couple, acted as impromptu maid of honor at the ceremony. She was able to get their wedding bands at the hospital gift shop free of charge after they heard her story.

"When we knew [the ceremony] was happening. We all just started crying because it was the tears of joy and tears of knowing he may not make it," Woodard told ABC News today of the moments before the ceremony. "Even though it was in this horrible ... situation you didn’t want, it was just the most amazing thing. There’s so much love in both of them."

Woodard posted a moving video on Facebook of the couple's ceremony showing the couple holding hands as they said their vows.

PHOTO: Hanby was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer last year that was deemed to be terminal. Mary Lou Dodson/Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Hanby was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer last year that was deemed to be terminal.

"Hey, handsome I can honestly say I have waited for this day my entire life. The day I get to become your wife," Davidson said during her vows. "No matter how much time we have together, you will always be the love of my life."

After the ceremony, the couple celebrated with a small reception and even got to cut their wedding cake. Even though Hanby was unable to stand on his own, he said the ceremony was beautiful.

“It made me feel complete,” he said on the Vanderbilt University Medical Center website.

Hanby died due to complications from his cancer on Thursday, just a over week after saying his vows.