A Wedding Gift: How one community came together to give one couple a special day despite devastating news

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. – This is a story of a family’s love and how the entire community of Fort Payne came together.

Donna Hairston has battled breast cancer for 10 years now. Throughout that time, her family says she never let herself get down of feel sorry for herself. She also never allowed the disease to interfere with her devotion to church, family or friends.

Join us tonight on WHNT News 19 at 10:00 for “The Wedding Gift;” a special report in which a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer reacts to her son’s plan to cancel a life-changing event, and how the community rallied behind the family.

A couple of weeks ago, doctors told her the cancer had spread, and there was nothing more they could do.

“Dad talked with her and she made the decision that she just wanted to come home,” said Candace Dorsett, Donna’s daughter. The end, doctors said, would come very quickly. So Donna went home to spend her final days surrounded by the love of family.

That was two weeks before the last of her four children was to be married.

“Everybody was worried, it was in the back of everybody’s mind, is Mom gonna be there. And it was in the back of her mind, she was talking about it. And she worried for them,” said Candace.

That night, her daughter-in-law-to-be announced that she and Donna’s son, Josh, had decided to cancel all of their plans. The wedding, reception, even the honeymoon cruise.

“The next morning, I’m still drinking on my coffee and I hear somebody pull up and I look out and there is a line of cars the length of my driveway, and cars pulling in my yard and cars pulling down the trail, just cars pulling in every which way,” remembered Candace.

Donna’s family describes what happened next as a miracle of love; a wedding gift that no one involved will ever forget.


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