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Blog: Stories and Insight

A Special Wedding Ceremony: Samaritan Team Helps Mom & Daughter Create Memories

Bobbi lying in bed watching her daughter get married.When Marianna Spencer reconnected with her mother Bobbi Stilo in 2020, they became inseparable, making up for lost time. “She’s my best friend,” shares Marianna. Whether they were watching their favorite movies – Tyler Perry classics, going on walks, or doing their favorite activity – spending quality time together, it did not matter; their time together felt precious.

Three years later, Bobbi’s stage four ovarian cancer diagnosis at age 48 pierced the bubble of joy for mother and daughter.  In October 2023, following her diagnosis, Bobbi immediately began chemotherapy with her daughter, her six-year-old grandson – and Marianna’s son – Kyreen, cheering her on.

One round of ineffective chemotherapy led to repeat hospital stays. Her treatment began to wear on Bobbi physically and emotionally. By February, she had made up her mind to receive dignified hospice care as her cancer had not responded to treatment.  Marianna honored her mom’s care wishes.

“I love Samaritan. They have been awesome,” Marianna declares. The choice was Bobbi’s, but when the Samaritan hospice care team arrived it became clear that there would be support for Bobbi and Marianna, as her mom’s caregiver. Having experts available 24/7 that she could call with caregiving questions brought Marianna immediate relief. Easing her mind further were the tools and education Bobbi’s care team gave her to make caring for her mom in between visits easier.  Most importantly, seeing how compassionate the team was to her mom decreased her stress, allowing her to focus on quality time together.

The thought that weighed on Marianna’s mind, however, was that Bobbi might miss Marianna’s wedding to her fiancée, Lena Spencer. Bobbi’s care team, knowing this was of concern, suggested they have a special ceremony just for Bobbi.  “I wanted her to see me get married and I wanted the support system [of her Samaritan team] to be there.” And so, they did exactly that.

Lena and Marianna hugging after ceremony.Bobbi was all smiles as she watched her daughter walk down the makeshift aisle of their living room to stand before Samaritan Chaplain Jack Connors and Lena. Members of their Samaritan support system present to bear witness to the beautiful ceremony including Meghan, Social Worker, and Chrissy, Primary Nurse. “Everyone was elated,” shares Chrissy, ” it stuck out to me in that moment how beautiful it was that Bobbie could witness her daughter getting married.”

Carving out time to make this beautiful memory meant the world to Bobbi and Marianna. Their embrace and smiles clearly showed their bond and how meaningful the occasion was to both mother and daughter. Though there were some tears, they were happy ones, as everyone felt moved by the moment. Marianna and Lena would have a beautiful ceremony and reception with extended family in the coming days, but this ceremony was something special.