When Hayden was selecting people to be a part of her bridal party, she had one very special girl in mind to be her flower girl. A few years ago, Hayden had registered as a bone marrow donor and saved a little girl’s life called Skye. Unbenknownst to 3-year-old Skye, she was about to be a flower girl at her donor’s wedding.
As Skye walked down the aisle and threw a handful of petals on the ground, the wedding guests could barely hold back the tears. As Jeannie Broadway, the photographer, said, “There wasn’t a dry eye in the room; you could even hear sobs from people.” That is because if it wasn’t for the bride, this little girl might not be here today.
The story of how a cancer patient became the flower girl at her donor’s wedding…
At just under a year old, Skye Savren-McCormick was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, a rare form of childhood cancer. Doctors gave her a 10% chance of survival and said she needed a bone marrow transplant to survive.
Luckily, a perfect match was found in 26-year-old Hayden Hatfield Ryals. At the time, Hayden had just changed her major and was feeling lost. She signed up to be a bone marrow donor for a sense of purpose. That purpose came in the tiny shape of baby Skye.
Donating bone marrow is anonymous, so Skye and Hayden never met. But from that point on, the pair were linked.
Sadly, Skye developed a second form of cancer shortly after the transplant called post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. Less than 1% of patients develop it as a result of their transplant, so things weren’t looking good for little Skye. Thankfully, after more bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy, she pulled through.
She’s a fighter, and she is full of spunk, and she just has the best attitude, and I think everybody could learn something from this 3-year old.
When Hayden became engaged, she reached out to Skye’s family with an anonymous letter via Be The Match, the organization she donated through. Their relationship started to grow through letters and emails, and they gradually developed a bond.
Hayden had a big question to ask…
On Skye’s birthday, Hayden sent a gift with an invitation and a very special request: Would Skye be her flower girl?
The toddler was on oxygen at the time so her parents weren’t sure if they would be able to make it. But thankfully, Skye pulled through and they traveled to the wedding. Skye and Hayden met for the very first time at the wedding rehearsal.
We were in the front, looking around, and she [Hayden] came in and immediately came over to Skye and dropped to her knees. Skye gave her a big hug. The whole night they were sitting together. It was so sweet. It was like they were in love.
The pair had an instant connection. Although Skye is too young to understand that Hayden helped save her life, she does know that she is somebody very special.
The families look forward to the years to come as Skye grows up and continues her relationship with Hayden. They are certainly bonded for life!
She’s everything to me. And this whole journey, I’ve never once seen it as me helping her, because I was honored to do it, and it was a privilege for me to get to do it. In my eyes, she’s the one that saved me. – Hayden