Katie Kirkpatrick was a freshman at Rochester College in Rochester Hills, MI, when she found out she had a brain tumor in 2002. The tumor turned out to be malignant, but Katie did her best to keep up with school while she underwent treatment.
Then in 2003, she was diagnosed with another tumor, this time an inoperable lung tumor that wound around the vital pulmonary artery. But Katie wasn’t ready to give up. She wanted to do what she could to make the world a better place despite her illness. In 2004, she was a cyclist in Lance Armstrong’s Ride for the Roses cancer fundraiser.
Then she decided to marry the love of her life, 23-year-old Lapeer County sheriff’s deputy Nick Goodwin, who was her high school sweetheart. She asked, and he said yes. But it was becoming apparent that she didn’t have long to live, and the wedding would have to take place soon.
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The couple was married on January 15, 2005, nearly three years after Katie’s battle with cancer began. The wedding took place at the Church of Christ in Hazel Park, Michigan. Katie and Nick were surrounded by the friends and family who loved them most. Even though Katie had to take breaks due to the fatigue and pain, she had the time of her life.
Katie’s battle with cancer ended just five days later.
Although life for her family will never be the same without her, it’s reassuring to know she was able to make one of her dreams come true and spend time surrounded by the people she loved in the few days before her death.
The images in the video below display true love if we’ve ever seen it. For this couple and the family and friends who attended their wedding to exude so much happiness in the face of so much pain is a testament to the fact that real love is far stronger than suffering and even death.
Rest in peace, Katie. Thank you for the beautiful gift of your life and the amazing things you did with it. You are an inspiration!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?