Two registered nurses from Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) proved Saturday that love will prevail even in the time of COVID-19.
When Amanda McKay and James Futerko couldn’t have the wedding of their dreams, they chose a different option that honoured their colleagues and the workplace where they met.
On Saturday, standing before a marriage commissioner in the roundabout traffic circle at RIH, the couple exchanged vows in front of family and friends, all positioned strategically apart from each other.
As a slight wind blew and vehicles came to a standstill, guests watched from around the sidewalk and the second, third and fourth levels of the parkade. When the ceremony ended, a loud cheer went up and applause broke out – the cloud of the pandemic momentarily forgotten.
It was a fitting start for the marriage of Amanda, an Emergency and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) registered nurse, and James, an registered nurse on the High Acuity Response Team, who met on the job at RIH in 2017 when Amanda was filling a temporary position in the ICU.
“We were going to get married in Chilliwack on James’ family farm. When the pandemic started, we realized we had to do something different, but also something special,” said Amanda.
Someone joked they should get married at the hospital and the idea, amusing at first, took on the grains of a possibility that became a reality with the support of Interior Health and RIH leadership.
“We were happy to support Amanda and James in holding their wedding on site,” said Richard Jewitt, RIH clinical director who oversees the Emergency Department. “It is important to recognize that positive events can take place at this time, even as we adhere to public health standards such as physical distancing.”
For Amanda and James, the unusual wedding location meant they were getting married at a place close to their hearts.
“I really love working here,” said Amanda. And despite COVID-19, the timing was perfect.
Two nurses getting married during National Nurses Week, in the Year of the Nurse, and in the midst of the biggest health emergency since 1918.
How they got engaged
James and Amanda are avid mountain bikers and they prefer that special events reflect what they value in their lives. So, last September James made a plan.
He got a ring and arranged a bike ride up Vedder Mountain in Chilliwack on a date he hoped would be a perfect fall day. They woke up to pouring rain and cold wind. Fortunately, Amanda is a hearty type – as nurses tend to be. With no hint of what was ahead, she agreed to put on her rain gear, climb on her bike and away they went, the weather getting worse all the time. Splashing uphill through mud puddles, they arrived at the location James had in his mind for his proposal.
He turned on the music in preparation to pop the question, but other cyclists at the same spot delayed him. So he asked her to dance – which they also both love to do – in the mud instead. They danced through his proposal song, “Georgia,” and then the coast was clear. He acted quickly, getting down on one knee and while a song played that neither can even remember now, he asked her the question.
The shocked and muddy bride-to-be asked, “What? This is happening now?” And then she said yes.