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A Devoted Father with Guillain-Barré Walks His Daughter down the Aisle

Caitlin and her dad on her wedding day after his Guillian-Barré Syndrome diagnosis and recovery work.

After a business dinner in Virginia, 59-year-old Bob C. felt ill enough to call 911. Good thing he did: just hours later, he was unconscious and on life support. Doctors struggled for weeks to tease out his eventual diagnosis: Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

His daughter, Caitlin, found out her father was sick from a phone call, but their family wanted to let her enjoy her bridal shower, which was scheduled the next day. After the bridal shower she learned the truth. She got on a plane immediately to be by his side.

Beginning the Road to Recovery

This began the arduous road to recovery, as his faithful wife and five kids rallied around him in his hospital bed and in his physical therapy. The family hung photos in Bob’s hospital room, started a CaringBridge Site and kept vigil.

After talking with her fiancé, Caitlin decided to delay her wedding. “I knew that when the day came, it would be even more special after our long wait. The most important thing was my dad’s health.”

At the direction of the wedding dress gurus at Kleinfield’s (the location for the TV show Say Yes to the Dress), Caitlin wrapped her dress in a white sheet and hung it in a closet.

A Father’s Goal Fulfilled

Eventually, Caitlin’s long-awaited day came around. Bob’s goal? To walk his daughter down the aisle. And something happened in the meanwhile: A camera person discovered Caitlin’s story and planned to shoot the moment for Say Yes to the Dress.

“I still remember the first time I saw him get out of his wheelchair when he was almost at the ‘100 days until the walk down the aisle’ countdown. Knowing we would be on TV was extra motivation! When the day came, he was able to do it… and it was truly one of the most amazing, emotional moments of my life. I had always dreamed of the day my dad would walk me down the aisle, and especially after everything we had been through… I just felt so incredibly blessed to have him by my side.”

Determination and Strength

A fairy-tale ending? Sort of. Bob still has a long way to go. “Over the past three years, our dad has been through more than any one person should have to go through in a lifetime. He is still partially paralyzed and many everyday activities are challenging. He dreams of the day when he can make his own meals and not have to ask anyone to help him get dressed or take a shower. You will never hear him complain though… you will just see him push on and persevere. We all have faith that one day he will get there… especially with his determination and inner strength. He is an inspiration.”

“Say Yes to the Dress” from Digital Video Productions on Vimeo.

Overcoming Obstacles

Do you have a story about overcoming obstacles in order to reach a goal? Share your inspirational stories and photos in our comments section below.

About the Author:

Katie Dohman is a freelance writer and editor living in St. Paul with her husband, new baby girl, and two rescue mutts.

Comments

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23 Replies

  • By Vera

    Congratulations, Caitlyn. Good for you for postponing your big day until your dad could walk you down the aisle. You gave him something to work hard for. What a beautiful walk down the aisle. So happy for your family.

  • By Barbara Bjorling

    I first saw your story on “Say Yes to the Dress”. Touching and I’m very happy that all turned out well for you and your Dad.

  • By Sandy Norris

    Wow….that was the most beautiful wedding ever.Your courage and strength is a inspiration to everyone.Congratulations, Caitlyn! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

  • By Jan Bomstad

    You are the sweetest, most wonderful family I have ever seen – you certainly did ythe right thing by postponing your wedding for your dad’s sake – it gave him something to push forward to! And your fiance’ – he looks wonderful, too – how lucky you both are! God Bless You All!

  • By Nancy HG

    Now this is truly a memorable story on a particularly special obstacles overcome segment.
    To me not enough of this type of beautiful story is told in the media these days. This is uplifting and gives me restored faith in humanity. My friend recovered from G-B and attributes caring bridge with being an important factor in recovering as her husband read her stories and posts while she was still attached to ventillator and unable to walk. Its a way for families to share the news and steps while providing a whole host of virtual cheerleaders. CARING BRIDGE IS ALSO BEING USED TO EDUCATE OTHERS during a friends recovery from Sudden Diagnosis with Leukemia to studied effort for a Bone Marrow Transplant to post surgery for transplant to finalizing recovery at home. FINALLY THE RIGHT USE OF THE INTERNET – to uplift, inspire, inform, educate, enlighten and make a difference to our world. Bless you at Caring Bridge. THANKS KLEINFELDs AND TO CAITLYN AND DAD WITH YOUR AMAZING STORY TO INSPIRE OTHERS.

  • By gail

    Caitlyn, you are such a loving, caring young lady to postpone your special day for your daddy to walk you down the isle. How proud everyone was and what an extra special
    wedding memory for you always. Glad your dad is doing well enough to walk on his own. God blessed your family for sure.

  • By Kathy

    Congratulations! You are very blessed to have your Dad and such a loving husband. Wishing you a lifetime of joy.

  • By Brenda

    Congratulations to ALL of you…this story bought tears to my eyes. It is such a beautiful and awe inspiring story. I am so happy that your Dad is doing so well and I continue to pray for his continues healing. I wish you and your new husband a long and very happy life, filled with love, happiness and joy. God Bless you all

  • By Sharon

    Congratulations on a beautiful wedding! Such a blessing that your dad was able to walk you down the Isle. Wish him a full recovery!! God bless your family

  • By marjorie miller

    GOD IS GOOD!!!! BLESS you all !

  • By Wanda Manhart

    Caitlyn, you are a very special young lady!! Many would not have done this, because they are selfish. I think your husband has been blessed with a loving wife and caring daughter. Congratulations to you and your husband and to your father on his recovery. God Bless You!!!!

  • By Sandi Jones

    May God Bless you, your Dad, your family and your new life!

  • By Terry and Doris

    Only God can work Miracles like this one!!

  • By Sheila Flanagan

    Thanks for waiting for your Dad, Caitlyn!
    What a special relationship! You are truly blessed to have both your Dad & your new husband. Congratulations and continued blessings to all of you!

  • By Melissa

    Caitlyn, Thanks for sharing your story. What a Fairy Tail Ending! Congrats! Wishing your Dad continued healing & many blessings for your whole family.

  • By Cathy

    Caitlyn, WOW!! What a truly heart-warmng story!! It really proves that WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!! Congratulations!!

  • By LARRY & AUDREY

    CAITLIN…………..SUCH A BEAUTIFUL STORY. CONGRATULATIONS. WE LOVE YOU!!

    GOD BLESS YOU ! !

  • By Darelyn Miner

    What a wonderful story!! You were a beautiful bride!! So glad your father is recovering!! I lost my little sister at the age of 19, 30 years ago this May from complications from Guillain-Barre’. Research and care have come a long way since them!! God bless you and your family, especially for your Dad!!!

  • By Patsy Jarvis

    That is fantastic! What a wonderful dream come true for you and your dad. What a neat husband you must have to have the patience to wait…..that is true love.

  • By Marion

    NO TEARS LEFT AFTER READING YOUR WONDERFUL STORY.GOD BLESS YOU ALL

  • By Judy

    I read your story and it brought back so many memories. My son was four years old when he was diagnosed with G B. That was 29 years ago. Back then, there was nothing they could do with G B, nothing was really known about it, until my son was diagnosed. He was in the hospital for two weeks, ICU for 4 days and in a wheelchair for 5 months. We had already registered him to start pre-school in the fall and it didn’t look like he would get to go, he was so sad. He told me one day after therapy that he was going to school, even if he had to go in his wheelchair. I told him if he tried hard in therapy and progressed he could. We had the best therapist, she was like family to us. We come from a small town in Louisiana so there were not many options for us.. But, to make a long story short, he was a very determined little boy. The doctors had said he would not walk for at least 18 – 24 months. He walked in 4 months!!!! We had prayer chains going all over the United States and God knew what plan he had for my son. It took him several years to finally recover completely but through the grace of God and all the prayers that went up for us, he recovered. Reading your story, brought back so many memories, some good and some bad, but you have had the pleasure of waiting for your Dad to get well enough to walk you down the isle. That will be something that you can look back on and thank God everyday that he is still here to make those memories with you. I’m so happy for you and your family, especially your Dad, knowing that he is progressing so well. I will be praying for all of you and may God Bless you and your family, very special family.

  • By Caitlin

    Thank you all so much for your beautiful and heartfelt comments… they mean the world to me. I know I am blessed to have my dad with me today… and he is now the most wonderful grandpa to our daughter Harper :) So happy that we could bring you an uplifting story… thanks again for your kind words!!!

  • By Caitlin

    Judy, thank you SO much for sharing your wonderful story with me. I am so happy that your son recovered… he sounds like a true inspiration, and from such a young age!! My dad still walks with a walker but he is a fighter like your son, he works hard in therapy and every single day to fight this horrible disease. Sometimes we still can’t believe it happened. We all keep the faith that he will continue to recover and will recover fully, like your son. Thank you so much for your prayers and your beautiful message <3