Dying Woman Gets the Wedding of Her Dreams With the Help of Friends and Strangers

While she has spent most of her life in and out of hospitals, 27-year-old Caleigh Haber has vowed to remain positive. 

Haber suffers from a genetic disease called cystic fibrosis, a condition that frequently gives her infections and sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, according to Yahoo News. Doctors told her that she would need a double lung transplant to have a fighting chance at life, and in October 2015, she underwent the procedure, largely believed to have been successful.

#Throwbacktuesday ???! I can’t resist! • This photo will forever symbolize one of the best moments in my life. October 20,2015, the morning I woke up with new lungs, a new perspective on life, and a new direction. This was the exact moment I realized I was breathing with new lungs and all the emotional and physical struggles were worth it! || Huge shout out to @letsrockcf for featuring me in this weeks blog post. Read about me and other cystas/fibros @ www.letsrockcf.org/blog/ ! Me “By far the largest goal for my future is to conquer another double-lung transplant; I am in full chronic rejection now. If I gain another set of lungs everything in life will fall behind. Such as marriage, children, career, writing a novel, and being present at all my loved one’s small and big moments.” #RockCF #Fight2Breathe #cysticfibrosis #65roses #curecf #cfawareness #UNOS #organdonation #donatelife #recycleyourself #doublelungtransplant #medicine #health #newlungs

A post shared by Caleigh Sarah Haber (@fight2breathe) on

With the good news, she was overjoyed that she could eventually enjoy a long and productive life with her boyfriend of one year, 25-year-old Bryan Takayama. The couple soon planned an engagement party and believed they could move forward with their relationship.

However, doctors would later inform Haber that her body had rejected the lungs and, to their dismay, her rapidly declining health would make another transplant extremely risky.

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Thursday morning I went into clinic with an optimistic mindset that a new path would be discovered leading to a positive outcome. However I was completely taken off guard when I heard the words I needed to be admitted for testing and monitoring. For a “Hail Mary” is what they called this admission. A series of testing the other organs in my body to see what the stress of my poor lung function is doing to them. After two days of testing my heart and working hard to recover my kidney function, I was discharged by my healthcare team telling me there is nothing else they can do to help me improve my health/quality of life. And that they stand by the decision that transplanting me would be setting me up for a battle I have no chance of winning. With low weight, failing kidneys, declining lung function, and bridle diabetes the doctors’ medical expertise tells them I’m not a candidate for surviving a double lung transplant. And honestly I can’t blame them. If it was between giving myself and another person with better qualifications the single pair of lungs available, I too would be forced to agree that the more qualified person receive the lungs. If they will last 1, 2, 5, or 10 years with new lungs and I’d only last hours or days it’s an obvious decision to save the other person. As a result of this prognosis, I’m now left with the “fight or flight” choice of what the next steps for my life should be – continue to work at changing centers’ mind to transplant me or live the rest of my days on my favorite Hawaiian island on palliative care. After a crazy, stressful, and busy 48 hours of high emotions and big decisions, Bryan and I have arrived home to sit down and brainstorm our options for our future. When you have a love as strong as we do one person’s downfall is also the others. We ride the wave of life together no matter how large or scary. So tonight we’ve devised a plan to put all our last eggs into living. #Fight2Breathe #CysticFibrosis #65Roses #CureCF #CFAwareness #UNOS #OrganDonation #DonateLife #RecycleYourself #doublelungtransplant #lovewins #organrejection #medicine #health

A post shared by Caleigh Sarah Haber (@fight2breathe) on


In an Instagram post, Haber relayed the bad news: “With low weight, failing kidneys, declining lung function, and diabetes the doctors’ medical expertise tells them I’m not a candidate for surviving a double lung transplant. If it was between giving myself and another person with better qualifications the single pair of lungs available, I too would be forced to agree that the more qualified person receive the lungs.”

Upon learning that Haber may not have as much time left as previously thought, the couple decided to turn their engagement party into a wedding — the two tied the knot in front of family and friends on Saturday.

“When you have a love as strong as we do one person’s downfall is also the others,” Haber was quoted as saying. “We ride the wave of life together no matter how large or scary. So tonight we’ve devised a plan to put all our last eggs into living.”


The couple’s friends made the event extra special and within just a week, transformed it into a fairytale wedding that she had always dreamed of, even going as far as to set up a GoFundMe page to raise enough funds to grant the couple not only a memorable wedding but also a fantastic honeymoon.

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Haber expressed her appreciation, saying she was “overwhelmed with emotion that you have all supported us and shown us unconditional love. As we begin this journey sharing a life together it is so important to have a village behind us.”

While the goal for the fundraising campaign was set original $10,000 goal, the generosity of their beloved friends and kind-hearted strangers was so overwhelming that the amount has now exceeded the $25,000 mark.

The support has even inspired Haber to look into the possibility of trying another life-saving double-lung transplant.

Here’s the latest update posted on the campaign:

“Given the momentum we currently have, we want to take this opportunity to increase the funds raised to address the following:

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1. Given state insurance, Caleigh does not have access to coverage in Hawaii. Treatments Caleigh will need include 24/7 on-call care, daily bolus of water for kidney hydration, blood labs to track anti-rejection levels, and any unexpected events that may occur
2. Pay it forward event – While enjoying the opportunity enabled by these funds, they would like to also use it as an opportunity to spread awareness by donating services/funds to a CF or transplant-related cause
3. Leftover funds will be utilized to cover Caleigh’s costly day to day medical requirements and what is to come with the possibility of a second life-saving double-lung transplant.”

Images via Instagram / fight2breathe

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