Gay hospice patient Alfredo Garcia III’s last wish was to marry his boyfriend.
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On Wednesday 24 July, Garcia, 31, did just that in a bedside ceremony at the Seasons Hospice MacNeal Inpatient Center in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn. He married his boyfriend of five years, Erwin Sigueroa, who is also the love of his life.
Garcia has been living with HIV for eight years. Back in January, he was diagnosed with stage IV liver cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that spreads through the lymph system, which includes the tissues and organs meant to create, store, and carry white blood cells to fight infections.
Garcia arrived at the hospice on 18 July. During the intake process, he told Bryan Pottow, the hospice’s national director, that his final wish was to marry his boyfriend. Garcia and Sigueroa were life-long friends who both grew up in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.
Planning the wedding
‘It was very emotional. There were a lot of tears, but it was definitely happy. It’s what Alfredo wanted,’ Pottow told Q Voice News. Pottow attended the ceremony and helped Garcia plan it.
‘They had been talking about being married for a year,’ Pottow said. ‘I told Alfredo we can make that happen.’
Garcia, Pottow, and the rest of the hospice staff began to plan the ceremony last week. They intended to schedule a courthouse official to perform the ceremony and make it legal. However, Garcia’s condition suddenly took a turn for the worse. So they fast-tracked the process by opting for a commitment ceremony instead.
The ceremony lasted approximately 30 minutes. It was attended by about 12 people, including Garcia’s brother and sister. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed a champagne toast.
‘It was lovely to carry out Alfredo’s last wish with Erwin. Alfredo also had the opportunity to be surrounded by his family,’ Pottow said. ‘They were very happy with it. These are life-long memories for Erwin. He will cherish them forever.’