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In Sickness And In Health: MJHS Hospice Makes Magical Wedding Day For Bronx Couple

Malcolm Alleyne and Sonia McClean (credit: CBS 2)

Malcolm Alleyne and Sonia McClean (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Bronx couple’s dreams came true with a very unusual wedding made possible by the extraordinary efforts of others.

Malcolm Alleyne, a former construction worker, and Sonia McClean, an Air Force veteran with two grown daughters, met five years ago.  But Alleyne got sick and moved into The Metropolitan Jewish Health System’s Zicklin Hospice Residence in Riverdale last Fall.

Alleyne has terminal lung cancer, CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported. And although the chemotherapy was stopped, their hopes never diminished.

“In sickness I’m here for him, in health he’s here for me,” McClean told Tyler. “He doesn’t like me to feel grief because he’s sick. He doesn’t want me to feel grief. He wants me to be happy — go on living.”

zicklin wedding In Sickness And In Health: MJHS Hospice Makes Magical Wedding Day For Bronx Couple

Zicklin Hospice staff with McClean and Alleyne. (credit: CBS 2)

Moments before her wedding, McClean told Tyler, “I’m feeling so excited. I’m overwhelmed, I can’t believe Zicklin is doing this for Malcolm and myself. It’s wonderful.”

MJHS decorated the residence for a wedding, and Hospice nurses became bridesmaids for the special occasion. Case Manager Nora Forbes brought hydrangeas from her yard for the bouquets.

“It’s always a privilege to do what we do. To take care of people when they are the most vulnerable,” Forbes told Tyler. “But to have a celebration like this at this stage of the game is pretty satisfying.”

Weak on his feet, but heart strong, Malcolm was steadied as he stood for his vows, read by MJHS Chaplain Rev. Eric Towse, Tyler reported.

The hospice staff created a fairy-tale wedding and reception. A bakery helped with the cake and a shop donated the wedding dress.

Alleyne’s social worker Carolyn Genereux said today was the best medicine. “I could see the joy in his face, even though his physical body is not as strong as it was — the same Malcolm is there.”

The native of Barbados, who’d never been married, told Tyler the day was unbelievable — the generosity of MJHS and the love and support of Sonia.

“It was something that I never realized could happen,” Alleyne said.

Everyone who witnessed the ceremony told Tyler it was a life-affirming event.

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