Rickey McCray’s story, not unlike many others we see in the Hospice world, made an impact on so many Partners at Peachtree Christian Hospice and Pruitt Health Hospice Atlanta. Mr. McCray received his cancer diagnosis in 2015, however, in February 2017, he learned his disease was progressing and no further treatment options were available. He was admitted to PHH Atlanta, but when his symptoms were unable to be managed, due to progression of his disease, he came to Peachtree Christian Hospice. Upon arrival to the facility, he was depressed and his pain level so great, he stated a desire to die; however, with aggressive attention to his physical and psychosocial needs, within 24 hours, Mr. McCray was smiling and sharing his dream with staff! He explained, with much emotion, that he spent his 17th anniversary- 2/16/17 in the hospital, unable to celebrate with his soulmate due to his health. He dreamed of an intimate weekend alone with his beautiful bride, Georgia McCray, in which the two of them could renew their wedding vows and just “be together”. This is where PHH Atlanta and Peachtree Christian Hospice sprang into action with our Second Wind Dreams project!!
The Committed to Caring Team, with the assistance of many excited partners went to work to bring the dream into fruition. No detail was left undone! The couple voiced a desire to stay at Chateau Elan, in beautiful Braselton, GA. They both explained their simple marriage in front of the Justice of the Peace 17 years ago had always left them with the desire to dress up and enjoy the day! Georgia was able to pick out the beautiful gown, shoes, and clutch purse while Rickey’s rented tuxedo was a perfect complement! A beautiful room was chosen and the weekend package was planned to meet every desire of the happy couple! The amazing staff at Chateau Elan worked to create a special weekend- including a complementary bottle of wine and delectable snacks provided in the room! The resort staff provided personal shuttle service throughout the stay as well as allowing for earlier check-in and check-out to be certain our patient, their guest, would have the means to be comfortable at all times! A beautiful location on the grounds was secured for this intimate ceremony- rose petals placed in the shape of a heart for the happy couple to stand within as they renewed their vows. Our own Peachtree Christian Hospice Chaplain, Larry Connelly, performed the service, at the request of the patient. The music provided was hand-picked by Mr. McCray, as he stated there were only two songs necessary, to describe the love between the two and was very pleased both were played! No event would be complete without sweet treats- chocolate covered strawberries for the handsome groom and gourmet cupcakes for the bride’s favorite snack!! Upon the Re-pronouncement of husband and wife and the loving kiss between the two, complete with lots of smiles and happy tears, the couple were left to enjoy the rest of the weekend to themselves! Room Service, shopping, and enjoying each other’s devoted attention were enjoyed by the lovebirds.
We, at Peachtree Christian Hospice and Pruitt Health Hospice Atlanta recognize the importance of the hospice philosophy of providing quality care to those with a life limiting diagnosis! We are honored that we were able to participate in this Second Wind Dreams Committed to Caring Project in order to add life to days when days can’t be added to life!
Special thanks to Peachtree Christian Hospice Foundation with Olivia’s Cupcakes, Publix of Castleberry, B&B Video, and Chateau Elan for providing donations and/or specialty services to meet the goals of this project. Also, much appreciation to the Registered Nurse that made a voluntary visit to the patient over the weekend to address his medical needs while away from home. We are very pleased to involve our partners and community to live out the motto of Pruitt Health: “Our family, your family, ONE family; Committed to loving, giving, and caring; United in making a difference”.