It was a day the Kurz family had spent months looking forward to but as Heidi and Bud’s daughter prepared for her June 24 wedding, a sudden hospital visit made her parents worry they wouldn’t make it to Vancouver on time.
Now, the family wants to thank Sechelt Hospital staff for their above-and-beyond care and optimism that ensured Bud walked his daughter down the aisle.
After the wedding invitations had been sent out to guests and travel arrangements booked, Bud Kurz was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy. While not much data is available about Monomorphic epitheliotropic intestinal T-cell lymphoma (MEITL), the aggressive lymphoma has low survival rates.
On June 21, three days before his daughter’s wedding, Bud received the news that the three rounds of chemotherapy were not effective. Now in the palliative stage of his treatment, Bud made several emergency trips to the Sechelt Hospital and intensive care unit leading up to the wedding.
“Everyone was hoping and praying he would be able to walk our daughter down the aisle,” Heidi told Coast Reporter via email.
Heidi said he’d been stable in the days before June 24, but that morning he woke up at 5 a.m. with an atrial fibrillation — a pounding, high heart rate — and once again headed to the Sechelt Hospital. Heidi worried neither of them would be able to attend the wedding, since she would be too worried about her husband to celebrate without him. The couple recently celebrated their own 37th anniversary and Bud’s 65th birthday.
But at the hospital, Heidi said, “The entire staff pulled out all the stops in making sure that we would make it after all.”
The first doctor told them they would get to the wedding for sure, then a nurse told Bud he’d walk down the aisle if they had to take him there themselves. They gave Bud medication to bring down his heart rate. When they met with another doctor, Bud was treated for dehydration and told he was well enough to catch the ferry.
Then the doctor went a step further, and called BC Ferries, asking the company to hold the ferry. (BC Ferries reports all ferries departed on time that day.) Heidi said theirs was the last car on board the next sailing, later than they planned for, but still with plenty of time to arrive at the wedding.
What Heidi didn’t mention, daughter Celina Tobin-Kurz says, is how involved she was in the wedding preparations. In the couple’s car were the flowers Heidi grew for the reception as well as the gifts for guests, and Heidi prepared to perform a song on flute ahead of the ceremony.
Their newly wed daughter became emotional when talking about the wedding. At one point, she and her spouse had considered cancelling the event if Celina’s father couldn’t attend, but too many reservations had been made for international guests.
“It was really, really special,” Celina said. “I’m so grateful to the hospital and the doctors and the nurses that were involved that made the day happen and made it so what I wanted it to be.”
Although the hospital provided a wheelchair, Bud walked down the aisle on his own two feet, arm in arm with the beautiful bride.
“It was the highlight of the wedding,” Celina said through happy tears. Her parents also performed some music together: Heidi on the harp, Bud on the guitar.
These days Bud and his family gather often in the couple’s Roberts Creek home. Long-time friends come to visit, and the Kurzs plan pleasant activities to enjoy their time together.
“We’re lucky because we live in a great community. We have lots of terrific friends,” Heidi said. The optimism of the hospital workers the family encountered on June 24 gave them some much needed positivity and inspiration.
“It changed … from despair to like, ‘Yes, we can do this!’” Heidi said.
“It was pretty special,” Bud said. “I did not expect people to behave like that. They really stepped up.”