The Joyous Life and Wedding of Katie Kirkpatrick

Katie Kirkpatrick

Katie Kirkpatrick’s story is a powerful reminder that we can still find joy in the midst of suffering tragedy by focusing on and celebrating the present moment. The photos and text come from an e-mail I received and from which verified Katie’s story.

On Valentine’s Day, 2002, Katie Kirkpatrick, then a freshman at Rochester College (a small Christian college in Rochester Hills, Michigan), was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Undaunted, Katie strove to keep up with her studies, but she suffered another setback in 2003 when she was diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumor wrapped around her pulmonary artery. Nonetheless, in 2004 the resilient Katie took part in champion cyclist Lance Armstrong’s Ride for the Roses cancer fundraiser.

On January 15, 2005, twenty-one-year-old Katie—the girl “with a contagious smile and unrelenting optimism” who had been battling cancer for three years—married twenty-three-year-old Lapeer County sheriff’s deputy Nick Goodwin, her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, at Church of Christ in Hazel Park, Michigan.

Photos were taken by Romain Blanquart.


Katie Kirkpatrick and her fiance, Nick, rest prior to their wedding. Katie has terminal cancer and spends hours in chemotherapy. Here Nick waits while she finishes one of the sessions.


Even in pain and dealing with her organs shutting down, with the help of morphine, Katie took care of every single wedding plan. Her dress had to be adjusted several times due to her constant weight loss.


An expected guest was her oxygen tank. Katie had to use it during the ceremony and reception. Katie's parents look on.


Katie, in a wheelchair, listening to her husband and friends serenading her


In the middle of the party Katie had to rest for a bit and catch her breath. The pain doesn't allow her to stand for long periods of time.


Katie passed away just five days after her wedding at the McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint, Michigan

Nick said of the wedding and Katie’s passing:

It was wonderful. It was a dream come true. She was the most beautiful angel ever—just caring and selfless, and such an inspiration to everyone. She was always smiling no matter what happened, no matter what news she got. She was as close to perfect as they come.

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44 Responses to “The Joyous Life and Wedding of Katie Kirkpatrick”

  1. Dean Says:

    What a remarkable story. What an amazing young woman.
    I read this with a mixture of sadness and joy. Sad because this woman would have had a lot to offer the world. ,joy because she lived to marry the man she loved, a man who love her unconditionally. Thats what most women dream of.
    All couples should learn from this. That true love is not about getting what you need, but giving to the other person what they need. If we would always strive to do what’s in the best interest of our spouse or friend we would never have time to have spite in our hearts.
    God bless Katie, her family and her husband.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    WIse words, Dean. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  3. Sascha Says:


    just wanted to drop a thank you for this gorgeous rendition of Katie’s story. I use it often in arguments, actually … There are too many people out there that seem to be of a Soylent Green persuasion about dying individuals. Hence, they complain about health insurance (over here, i. e. Germany / Switzerland) covering for palliative care on the lines of: What for? They’ll die anyway. Why should I have to pay for their drugs when they can’t be cured and will die in a couple of weeks anyway?

    But then I ask them: Is curative medicine so much different? Humans die. It’s part of the game. Successful treatment just puts the inevitable further off. It’s all about “quality of life”, not “get rid of dying”. With cures, by a couple of decades, perhaps; with palliative care, a couple of months, years, or days. Yes, days.

    My wife died after five days in a Hospice. But those were the best days we’ve had in weeks (it went rather quickly), and we were able to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The next day, she was dead. Is that nothing? Should this be disregarded because it’s “too expensive for the public?” or “it doesn’t serve society’s interests?” And why aren’t there more institutions who enable those who have a banshee sitting on the shoulder to at least enjoy the last part of their lives?

    I don’t intend to put your rendition down, Phil, not at all. But frankly – wouldn’t you rather live in a world where such a story wouldn’t make such an impression on people? Because, well, it’s normal?

    I’m saddened I have to “use” Katie as an argument in such matters. This is not what I consider necessary in a humane environment.

    I don’t envy Nick. But … somehow, I think others should.

    Thank you for your great text.

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You make some very good points, Sascha, and I agree with you on all of it. And I’m very sorry you lost your wife.

    The issues you speak of weren’t even on my radar with this story. I was just looking at it as a triumph of the human spirit. Healthcare policies never entered my mind.

  5. james Says:

    the most important thing when it is our time is how we feel when it happens and it sounds like she felt good and happy, because it doesnt matter about everything else that brought us there it just adds to our feelings in the end and that is where we are judged. You have to wounder if she will be the one to say hello when we finish our time here, i hope so.

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, all that matters at the end of our life is how much love we have in our heart. Thanks, James.

  7. Narendra Nair Says:

    Moving as the story undoubtedly is, I did wonder why the sweethearts did not marry earlier since they were close from childhood. If five days gave her a joy that was so wonderful how much more would the joy have been had she had her sweetheart with her through the period of pain and suffering from the time she was first diagnosed with cancer?

    Not clear why they chose to wait till the very last minute.

    Do you have any additional data on the couple?


  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    HI, Narendra. I assume that they were together, they simply weren’t married. If that was not the case, then I don’t know what the dynamics were. Sometimes a crisis brings people together in intense ways that may not have occurred otherwise.

  9. maria elena Says:

    thank you for the inspiring story and photos.
    this has greatly blessed me.

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    It is my pleasure, Maria Elena. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. It is much appreciated.

  11. maria elena Says:

    more inspiring stories Phil for me to post in my facebook. =)

  12. Phil Bolsta Says:

    That’s a fine idea, Maria Elena!

  13. Lucy Says:

    Dear Phil, thank you for letting the people know about Katie’s great love. Keep up the great work. And you are so attentive to reply everyone’s comment..

  14. Phil Bolsta Says:

    I love sharing inspiring stories with people and connecting with people who like them, Lucy!

  15. Nicky Says:

    What an amazing couple – a total inspiration. Thank you.

  16. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re very welcome, Nicky.

  17. Izan Says:

    Dear Phil…
    What a wonderful story & amazing couple.
    Reading and seeing this make me drop a tears…
    Thanks for sharing a great love story.


  18. Phil Bolsta Says:

    My pleasure, Izan. I’m glad it touched you.

  19. patty Says:

    The parents in the photo are actually Katie’s parents.

  20. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank you, Patty. I have corrected the photo caption.

  21. Debra Says:

    Where is Nick now???

  22. Phil Bolsta Says:

    I don’t know, Debra. Maybe Patty can shed some light on that. She knows the family.

  23. Leslie Taylor Says:

    The photographs and story of Katie and her wedding are beautiful.

    I live a life filled with miraculous events; I always have. While I am not sure exactly why this is so I developed a thesis based on these experiences. The website above includes the thesis and examples of miracles I personally have experienced. You may be interested.

  24. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Sounds great, Leslie. I bookmarked your site and look forward to checking it out. For others who are interested in the site, go to:

  25. Jessica Says:

    This story takes my breath away and I can’t believe it took so long to reach me.

    Katie and Nick are perfect examples of what it’s all about. We’d only be too lucky to find that in our lives.

  26. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank you for your comment, Jessica. May you find what Katie and Nick found in each other.

  27. Jian Marla Reyes Says:

    I can’t stop tears when I read this. :( Thank you for sharing a story like this. One GREAT LOVE. Who’s not afraid of dying right? And as young like her? But Katie was a strong person that despite of knowing that soon she’ll die she has the courage to live her life in a normal way. I love to hear different wedding stories since I’m a wedding coordinator and this story really inspired me. I salute KATIE so much! May she rest in peace.

  28. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, fighting something bigger than yourself can call forth the heroic and noble qualities of the soul, Jian. Katie is one of those people who answered her challenge with grace and dignity. God bless her.

  29. Lani Asper Woods Says:

    Wow – what a great testimony to love, sacrifice and carrying

  30. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Agreed, Lani. I can’t imagine there being a better one.

  31. Lucien del Mar Says:

    Dear Phil! Thanks for sharing this story. I will translate it into my mother language Hungarian and post the whole thing on my website.

    Very inspiring to LIVE!

  32. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re very welcome, Lucien! Glad you can share it even further!

  33. Joe Says:

    What a selfless man Nick is. To marry Katie for her and not other wordly things. It’s good to know that selfless love does exist. Gives hope to humanity in this age of selfishness and narcissism. I’m glad to have stumbled upon this story. It’s my morning coffee.

  34. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Agree on all counts.. Glad you could use their story as your morning Joe, Joe!

  35. klain simoes Says:

    This i true love!!!!!! beautiful!!!! The Greatest is love!!!!!

  36. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Agreed, Klain!

  37. Tina K Says:

    Nick is really a selfless man; may God guide him to find someone to love like Katie.

  38. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Agreed, Tina!

  39. memoricprism Says:

    Reblogged this on memoricprism and commented:
    Sometimes, when life gets me down, I think if I wear a smile, a genuine one, I will persevere.

    Katie, you are beautiful.

  40. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yes, Katie’s story is certainly a lesson in perspective, memoricprism.

  41. Mihael Arhanđeo Says:

    Beautiful and encouraging

  42. Manisha Sneha Says:

    Thank you for sharing the story of Katie- Nick. It overwhelms me whenever I read their story. I have shared this post 1 year back and I am making my friends aware in Facebook. Can you share more of these everlasting true love stories so the world may know about it and bless and remember them in their prayers and hearts. How is Nick? Do you have any news of him and their families?

  43. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thank you for your comment, Manisha. Alas, I don’t know anything more about Nick.

  44. Temeka Lafkas Says:

    wow just wow

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