ICU patient surprised with vow renewal ceremony at hospital

Collette Hurd has been staying in ICU at a Chicago hospital awaiting a double-lung and kidney transplant.

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A Chicago woman awaiting a kidney transplant received the surprise of a lifetime recently when her husband and hospital nursing staff helped orchestrate her 20th wedding anniversary gift.

Collette Hurd, 57, renewed her vows while staying at Northwestern Memorial. She’s been admitted since May, People Magazine reports. 

To celebrate her monumental anniversary, hospital staff worked with her husband to set up a vow renewal ceremony in the hospital’s chapel. Staff members dressed Hurd in a white robe with the word “BRIDE” written on the back. For the “something blue” element, they placed blue butterfly stickers on Hurd’s shoes. Hurd and her husband shared a toast of sparkling grape juice.

Hurd was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2020. It’s a rarity that causes high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs and heart. In May, she began her stay at the hospital awaiting a double-lung transplant. Doctors soon discovered that her disease had progressed and she’d also need a kidney transplant. She’s been on the list for transplants since July in intensive care.

Doctors and nurses walking in a hospital hallway (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Her nursing staff can’t say enough about their beloved patient.

“Collette is a wonderful human,” ICU staff member Kari Brouwer says in a statement. “Collette knows when you’re having a rough day. She said to me, whenever she goes for a walk, she walks past patient rooms and prays for each one of them. She also prays for the nurses and rehab staff. Having Collette in the ICU is such a bright light, and she rubs off on everyone she meets. She renews your hope, helps you continue with your day, and reminds you why you got into healthcare in the first place.” 

Others share similar sentiments about Hurd. “Even in an ICU setting, every day Collette wakes up with a smile on her face,” Carey McGarvey adds. “Collette is genuine, truly cares, and gives you a nice ‘hanging out with a friend’ kind of feeling.” 

Hurd’s physical therapist Megan Burwell couldn’t agree more. She notes that Hurd’s positive attitude in the midst of her health struggles coupled with a global pandemic is helpful to get through tough days.

“A lot of these patients don’t have visitors or family, so we’re all they have as far as physical contact and support,” she says. “It’s been rewarding, but also sad. These are parents, brothers, sisters. All we can do is be there for them as best we can. Collette is a shining light — she loves butterflies, so in my mind, she’s my butterfly. That’s not to say there aren’t hard days, because she’s been here for quite some time, but she remains so positive — even after a bad day. Her personality and heart are contagious.”

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