UAB nurses help couple celebrate love and life

UAB nurses help couple celebrate love and life
Brenda Peoples and Lovie Ivory

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Brenda Peoples has been in love with a man named Lovie Ivory, for years. Lovie proposed over and over again, but it never seemed like the right time.

When Brenda finally decided the time was right, fate played a cruel twist. Shortly after agreeing to marry, Brenda was diagnosed with acute leukemia.

Lovie has been by her side through it all.

"He's my rock," Peoples said. "Since this journey started, he's done everything. I wouldn't be able to be on this side without him."

That love, caught the attention of their nurses in the Hematology/Oncology unit at UAB. When they heard the couple's story, they started working to throw them a wedding.

"I asked the nurses if they had people who get married in the hospital, and I asked them to look into it for me," Peoples said. "From there, it just blew up. They started doing all these different things for me, and then they asked if I wanted to have a blessing of our relationship today."

In a matter of hours, the nursing staff put together a celebration, right there in the hospital. The UAB Music Therapy department stepped up to play music, and a chaplain from UAB Pastoral Care was on hand to perform the ceremony.

"We treat the whole person. We wanted to give Brenda and Lovie this celebration. We celebrate even during the depths of illness and endurance, and this was a special opportunity," said UAB Pastoral Care Chaplin Lauren Gilmore, who oversaw the blessing celebration.

Brenda and Lovie made a promise to love each other forever, in front of a few family members and the nursing staff, inside of UAB Hospital's Chapels.

"I feel like I could live the rest of my life with her," Ivory said. "I'm faithful to her, and it's been scary; but I told her I am with her until the end. I knew she would be all right."

When the couple returned to the hospital room, it had been transformed into a reception, with balloons, a cake and sparkling grape juice for a toast.

"Because of the nature of our job on this unit, we can have some pretty hard days," said Katie Purdy, R.N., one of Peoples' nurses in UAB's Hematology/Oncology unit. "But we wanted to make Brenda and Lovie feel special and be able to give them the celebration they deserved."

People's condition has been improving, and she was released from the hospital Monday.

"We are thrilled to do the best for our patients and provide care from our hearts, and it is an honor to be a part of their journey together," Purdy said.

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