Three-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Serves As Flower Girl In Her Bone Marrow Donor's Wedding
As truly unthinkable as it sounds, sometimes children as young as two or three are diagnosed with potentially fatal illnesses. At the tender age of two, in fact, Skye McCormick was given a heartbreaking diagnosis - she had leukaemia. Fortunately, she managed to survive the ordeal after an anonymous bone marrow transplant.
When little Skye and her family did finally meet Hayden Hatfield Ryals, her donor, an immediate connection was felt on both sides.
Back in April 2016, Ryals was told she was a match for the toddler, a year after joining the national registry of bone marrow donors.
"I was in awe and instantly, I knew this was my purpose and was ready to get the ball rolling to help this angel," she said explained.
Even on the day of surgery in July of 2016, Ryals knew very little about Skye and her family. It was only until the following year that the two sides were able to communicate via emails and letters.
"The first day I finally interacted with Skye and her family, it felt like I had known them my whole life," she told Parents.com. "The surging amount of love I already had for them only reinforced how strongly and quickly we connected with each other, even though we hadn’t even met."
It was around this time that Ryals sent the now-healthy bone marrow recipient a birthday present, part of which was a wedding invitation which suggested Skye had been chosen to be the flower girl at her wedding.
At the time, it didn't seem like a viable option as Skye still wasn't in the best of health, but by the time it got to the wedding, the now-three-year-old had been given the go-ahead by doctors as far as travelling by plane was concerned.
"I broke down and cried tears of pure joy all over again. This was HUGE to me. And when I reiterated that the flower girl offer still stood and they agreed, I was absolutely over the moon. I kept thinking, 'Things like this just don't happen, this is really kind baffling and amazing,'" Ryals recalled.
The pair finally met face-to-face shortly before the rehearsal and they clicked instantly.
"I could've cried an ocean of tears hearing those words in her sweet voice," Ryals said.
The pair then exchanged gifts: Skye got a beautiful rehearsal dinner dress from Ryals and Ryals was gifted a gold locket with a photo of the three-year-old and the words, "This heart beats with yours" inside.
"I fully consider them my family and would do anything in the world for them," the 25-year-old bride added. "It would take an eternity to fully explain how precious they are to me and how much I love them."
It takes a truly kind and selfless person to not only give a young child - whom you have no relation to whatsoever - a second chance at life but to let the child be a significant part of what should be one of the best days of your life.
We wish Skye, her family, and the Ryals all the health and happiness in the world.