Renee Sayles was surprised when her daughter Abby announced Wednesday that she was getting married, on Thursday. Anyone would be. Abby is 4.
"To whom?" Renee asked.
"Matt," Abby said, in her matter-of-fact way.
Renee thought she should notify Matt of this. He's 29-year-old Matt Hickling, a nurse at the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center. That's where Abby has gone for her chemotherapy treatments since October, when she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Renee sent Hickling a text, and he set about making Abby's wish happen.
Abby, who lives in Waterford, is at Albany Med every other week for maintenance chemotherapy to keep her in remission, or symptom free. It was rough getting her to the hospital in the early days of her treatment, Renee said. But now she actually looks forward to her hospital visits.
"That's all we could ask for, with everything she's going through," Renee said.
The 4-year-old got the wedding bug, the Sayleses figure, after hearing talk that dad Steve Sayles' brother (Abby's uncle) got engaged to Renee's best friend.
Asked what she liked about Hickling, Abby was a little shy. Was he nice? Uh-huh. Fun? Uh-huh. Handsome? She turned her head away, hiding her eyes. Uh-huh.
Apparently, he also comes through when you need him. It was 2:30 in the afternoon when Hickling learned of his pending nuptials the next day. He enlisted help from other staff members. One reached out to Enchanted Garden Florist in Delmar, where owners Scott Wrightand Clorece Weir offered to make a free bouquet, corsages, boutonniere and basket of flowers shaped like a puppy.
When Abby arrived Thursday for her appointment, Hickling was kept hidden from her. After her treatment, she was escorted to an empty patient room, where bridesmaids Angie Silipigno(a child life specialist) and Courtney Hill (a social worker) preceded her through the door, dropping rose petals. Lacking other music, the staff hummed "Here Comes the Bride." Inside, Hickling was waiting in a tuxedo-patterned T-shirt.
He insisted that she pop the question. "Will you marry me?" she said.
Steve wasn't there that day, so Renee gave Abby away.
The preschool bride went viral on Facebook. Video of the wedding, shot by nurse Lori Ciafardoni, had more than 13 million views as of late Friday afternoon.
Hickling sees the activity as part of being a nurse to really sick children.
Source: Times Union