Terminally Ill Dad Can't Make It to Son's Wedding, But Nursing Home Has Surprise


Thomas DiPaolo and Ellen Tyndell were all set to have their dream wedding.

They were planning for years and were excited to take their vows in front of friends and family at Disney World.

The only problem was Thomas’s dad, Tommy. Tommy suffers from Parkinson’s disease, late-stage kidney cancer, and Hepatitis C.

It became clear that Tommy wasn’t going to make it to his son’s wedding. His health was declining, and there was no chance he’d be able to travel with the rest of the family.

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When Tommy’s nursing home learned that he was about to miss his son’s wedding, they came up with a plan.

They would surprise him with a wedding four weeks before the couple went to Orlando to say their vows once and for all.

“We try hard to do things like this for families,” Mary Walaszek, director of activities for the nursing home, told WMAZ.

“People have this impression of nursing homes as dark and dreary and full of death. We want to make sure we remind people: Life still happens.”

So, the home scrapped together a wedding in a matter of weeks. “This is the highlight of my life,” Tommy said when he saw the festivities.

“I’m just so overwhelmed by your love, and I hope I give you love, too.”

Although the pre-season wedding was mostly full of nursing home staffers, Tommy wasn’t the only family member who couldn’t make the trip to Florida.

Both Thomas and Ellen had family who couldn’t travel, so they attended the nursing home wedding instead.

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“It’s wonderful that we’re able to be part of the wedding. We were afraid we weren’t going to be involved at all,” Louis Tyndell, Ellen’s grandfather, said.

“I feel wonderful today, I really do,” Tommy DiPaolo told WMAZ. “I just love my son so much. He’s such a good guy. I’m so proud of them.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Tommy stood up to give his speech. Even standing is a struggle for Tommy, but he gave it his all for his son’s surprise wedding.

“I know there’s times I rub people the wrong way,” Tommy said to the crowd that had gathered for the occasion. “But I love you so much.”

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