After giving a little girl the bone marrow transplant she needed to survive, this bride asked her for one little favor in return.
Three years ago, in 2015, Hayden Hatfield was studying at Auburn University in Alabama when she registered at Be The Match, a national bone marrow donor registry, while they were visiting campus. Hayden decided to sign up, assuming her sample wouldn't end up matching anyone.
“It’s the easiest thing,” Hayden, 25, told the Dothan Eagle. “It’s a cheek swab–swab your cheek, put it in an envelope and they send it off ... I thought 'there’s like a one in a gazillion chance that I would ever be a match, but at least I’m on there.'”
At the same time, in Ventura, California, new parents Todd and Talia Savren-McCormick gave birth to their daughter, Skye. Within Skye's first year, however, she developed myelomonocytic leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Just one year after sending off her swab, Hayden learned that she was a match for Skye.
“I had been struggling for a while; I had changed my major,” Hayden said. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life and my career. I was feeling really down about everything. I was having trouble finding myself and feeling like I had a purpose. So, the more that I talked to this coordinator with Be the Match, I started feeling like 'what if this is my purpose?'”
The bone marrow transplant was a success, but, as per Be The Match policies, Hayden originally remained anonymous in her donation. However, the experience had been so meaningful to Hayden that she decided she needed to include the little girl in her wedding. She sent a letter to the family through the organization on Skye's birthday, along with a present and an invitation to be her flower girl. On June 9, 2018, the two finally met face to face during Hayden's wedding rehearsal.
"I walked up and I just dropped to my knees and all I could do was smile," Hayden told ABC.
Photographer Mark Broadway of Mark Broadway Photography captured the wedding on camera, including all the sweet moments between the bride and Skye.
"They are going to be part of our lives forever," Skye's mother also told ABC. "She saved our daughter's life."
“I just feel like they’re family and they’re so special to me and the whole thing helped them, but it also changed my life,” Hayden explained. “After everything, after this journey, it’s like God showed me 'this is why you were here. You were here to help this little girl and everything else will fall into place.'”