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A Wedding Request: A Community Driven to Invest In A Woman's Last Wish

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Every married couple has the story how they met; how the stars aligned and all of the sudden how everything made perfect sense. For Josefina and Luis, this day happened over a decade ago. Josefina was trying to leave work, only to be hindered by flat tire. As luck would have it, Luis was in the parking lot and offered his assistance. His gentlemanly, good-deed won him Josefina’s phone number and a long-term girlfriend.

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The couple has been through ups and downs, with the most drastic down happening a year ago, when Josefina was diagnosed with stage four colon-rectal cancer. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy, her doctor gave her three to six months to live. Josefina was asked about her dying wish, and her response was a simple one. She wanted to marry her best friend, Luis. However, with the medical bills piling up and with Luis out of work (he quit his job to take care of her), there was no financial way the couple could afford Josefina’s dream wedding. The couple’s family reached out and started the couple a GoFundMe page on September 21st, with the hopes to raise enough money for an impromptu wedding.

The stars aligned again when Paying It Forward Wishes and Heroes, a charitable organization, began to unify the community around Josefina’s wish. Tamye Diaferio, the founder, publicized the event and organized the volunteers.  Multiple media outlets picked up the story, including The Chicago Tribune,   NBC 5 Chicago, and KISS FM. Volunteers and support poured in, and every little detail was cover. The community really sought out to help and make the event happen. In an area where the average engagement is 14.5 months and the average wedding costs around $50,934 it can be very expensive making a dream wedding come true, especially on short notice (The Knot). Yet, Chicago-land made it happen.  (*See the below link with the list of vendors and volunteers).

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The wedding happened on October 8th, the anniversary of them meeting, and Josefina’s children showed up to surprise her and walk her down the aisle. It was a perfect day and the couple danced their first dance “on clouds.” The guest raved about the cake, entertainment and the love that the couple shared.  On the outside looking in, it would seem as a truly happy celebration. It is a great thing when a community comes together for a positive reason. In a time that is overshadowed by negative news on politics, racism and hate crimes it is refreshing to be shown stories of compassion and love. 

The GoFundMe campaign is still running, and has raised $3825, as of October 11th. If you would like to make a donation please visit https://www.gofundme.com/josefinaswish. Since the wedding has already taken place, the funds will go towards future care and medical bills.

We extend our warmest "congratulations" and "best wishes" to the happy couple and are hoping for the stars to align once more with Josefina and success with her treatments. 

*Please note that this may not be a full list of volunteers and donations

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