The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. ~Rabindranath Tagore
When Wish Upon a Wedding was first contacted by a social worker at Providence Hospice of Seattle, we were told Shelly had less than three weeks to live. Battling a rare form of cancer, Shelly was in hospice care, and had a desire to have one last special celebration of life surrounded by her friends and family.
Shelly passed away just over three weeks after she married her love, Jay, in a ceremony and reception provided by Wish Upon a Wedding. She had been battling a rare type of cancerous lymphoma, which had left her very weak and nearly unable to leave her own bed. Jay faced his own medical challenges with MS, as well. But the couple really wanted to celebrate their love and make their commitment to one another public, surrounded by their loved ones. Wish Upon a Wedding made that happen for them, and granted Shelly’s last wish: To marry her long time fiance, Jay.
Although our Seattle Board of Directors had just wrapped up their first board meeting, and had not yet officially hosted a Launch Party, we wanted to help make Shelly’s last wish come true.
Being the true professionals they are, the Seattle board sprung into action, and within 10 days of meeting Shelly, they had nearly all the details secured for this special wedding.
They reached out to our local database of Wish Granters, who were honored to donate their goods and services to Wish Upon a Wedding, so Shelly and Jay could celebrate in this most heartfelt and moving ceremony.
Shelly and Jay became husband and wife on Sunday May 2, 2010 at Sander’s Mansion on the outskirts of Seattle. Shelly passed away peacefully in the morning on May 25, 2010, with her husband by her side.
As the cancer had taken its toll on Shelly, the bride had difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time, which Wish Upon a Wedding easily accommodated. Using a wheelchair to reach the aisle, having her parents help her walk down the aisle, and sitting for the majority of the ceremony in no way detracted from Shelly enjoying the beauty of this special day.
Shelly’s daughters, Leslie, Summer-Lynn, Dawn and Tiffany were able to attend and proudly watched their mother marry the love of her life, Jay. After Shelly passed, her daughter Shelly-Lynn said, “For everything you did for her and Jay, I truly thank you. Your gifts could not have been bestowed on a more deserving woman. She passed peacefully, as Shelly Lynn Ellison. Thank you for making that possible. And I hope everyone else you touch finds the same happiness my mom did.”
Shelly’s parents traveled in from Canada to walk their daughter down the aisle.
Shelly and Jay posed for many photos with their family and friends throughout the day, such as the one below, where you can see the love these people shared.
Butterflies gave Shelly peace towards the end of her life, and they were incorporated subtly into many parts of her wedding day. Even her gown had a subtle butterfly motif embroidered into the hem.
The couple was whisked away in this beautiful limo provided by one of our wonderful Wish Granters.
Thank you to all those who made Shelly’s wedding wish come true. RIP Shelly Sundstrom-Ellison.