By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An elegant center city Philadelphia hotel was the setting this morning for the wedding of a couple who are preparing to face their biggest challenge together.
The groom, Pierre Freeman, has an inoperable brain tumor, diagnosed in 2008.
Today, freed from his illness to live in the moment, Freeman married the woman of his dreams, Melanie Gaskins.
“I told you this was going to be a journey,” he told her during ceremonies atop the Hotel Monaco, at Fifth and Chestnut Streets, which donated its services. “It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I love every minute of it.”
The nonprofit organization Wish Upon a Wedding coordinated all the vendor donations for the wedding: the planning, the venue, catering, flowers, photography, entertainment, and transportation.
Since its founding in 2010, the charity has coordinated more than 60 no-cost weddings and vow renewals across the country for couples, regardless of sexual orientation, who are dealing with a terminal illness or other major challenge.
Freeman says doctors told him he’s got three months to a year to live, but he feels he’ll endure beyond that.
Gaskins says they had long sought to be married, but because of Pierre’s fight with cancer and raising their 17-year-old daughter, the dream had proved to be too much.
“I’ve never met such a strong, caring, loving man in my life,” she said today. “You’re not only good to me, but you’re good for me.”
Wish Upon a Wedding is always seeking professionals in the wedding and hospitality industries to provide their goods and services to help make these weddings possible. They can be reached at wishuponawedding.org.