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Monica Buchanan, Director of Communications
HARTFORD, CONN. – This Saturday, Connecticut Children’s will host its first-ever wedding. Approximately 75 guests will attend. The bride will carry white flowers down the aisle. The groom will likely have an IV pump with him.
This was obviously not the original plan for 26-year-old Jonathan Sales, a 7th grade science teacher at Oakville’s Swift Middle School, and 27-year-old Alyssa Griffin, an IT specialist for nonprofit Save the Children. The couple, who live in Stratford and have been together seven years, became engaged last March. Until a week ago, wedding planning had taken a more conventional path, including a 2020 save-the-date at a professional venue.
That all changed last Tuesday, when Sales was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in his life. At age 13 he was successfully treated for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia under the care of Connecticut Children’s oncologist Michael Isakoff, MD. Thirteen years later, Sales has been diagnosed with B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia – a second primary cancer. He’s returned to Connecticut Children’s through the hospital’s Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program to resume care under Dr. Isakoff.
As for getting married, Sales and Griffin don’t want to wait any longer. So Connecticut Children’s team members – with social worker Mary Laliberte at the helm as impromptu wedding planner – have rallied to give the couple a proper wedding. Resident physician John Norko, MD will officiate.
“Anybody getting married gets lost sometimes as to the purpose of a wedding,” says Griffin, the bride-to-be. “You get stuck on, ‘What if the napkins don’t match?’, when the point of the day is to get married. The only real important piece is that when I’m walking down the aisle, Jonathan is the one at the end.”
In lieu of wedding gifts, the couple have asked all guests to donate gift cards for groceries, gas, etc. for other families at the hospital.
About Connecticut Children’s
Connecticut Children’s is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and ranked one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and a Magnet® designated hospital. Connecticut Children’s provides more than 30 pediatric specialties along with community-based programs to uniquely care for the physical, social, and emotional needs of children. Our team of pediatric experts and care coordinators bring access to breakthrough research, advanced treatments for both rare and common diseases, and innovative health and safety programs to every child. Connecticut Children’s is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve access to healthcare for all children through convenient locations, care alliances and partnerships.