What a beautiful day for a wedding, and for making a resident’s dream come true for his daughter’s big day!
The day was everything Lauren Childers ever dreamed of as she and Doug Peters exchanged vows at St. Boniface Catholic Church. The day became even more special thanks to her father Neil Childers.
Neil, a resident of Heritage of Bel-Air in Norfolk and former resident of Elgin, is a very determined gentleman, especially when it comes to his daughter Lauren. Because of a stroke, he has had difficulty standing and walking, and he knew walking his daughter down the aisle would be an ambitious goal, one he was determined to accomplish.
In March of 2017, Neil visited with the therapy team at Bel-Air. Right away, physical and occupational therapists started working with him. Gradually, he walked further and further with less physical assistance. Through a lot of hard work he achieved success, walking approximately 100 feet with minimal assistance.
According to Adrienne Synovec, Heritage of Bel-Air public relations officer, the therapy team at Bel-Air wanted to take it a step further by working with the church where his daughter was to be married to make a custom railing that could be temporarily attached to the pews for Neil’s assistance. Practice runs were held. The railing was perfected, stained and varnished to match the pews in the church.
With the excitement of Neil’s ambitious goal being met, he had another request for therapy… he wanted to be able to dance with his daughter at the reception. Their song was to be “She Thinks We’re Just Fishing” by Trace Atkins. In the few days before the wedding, therapy practiced the “dance” with Neil.
When the big day arrived on Saturday, May 6, Bel-Air provided a driver and team member to spend the day with Neil. The look on his face was priceless as he saw the bride for the first time. He even stood for the family pictures.
At the beginning of the wedding, the music cued for the bride and her dad as he successfully walked her down the aisle.
Lauren told The Elgin Review Monday afternoon, being able to walk down the aisle with her father was a very emotional moment, a moment when she saw her father’s dream become a reality. The 2004 graduate of Elgin High School said when she thinks about her wedding day and the hard work her father did to be there, it touches her heart.”It’s good tears,” she said.
The evening was complete when Neil danced with her to the applause of the entire room. “That was a very special moment,” she said.
His ambitious goal from months prior had become a magnificent reality, and beyond that, a day that Neil, his family and the team from Bel-Air will never forget!