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For Immediate Release:
November 13, 2015
Media Contact:
Lidia Amoretti
lidia.amoretti@jhsmiami.org
305-801-6556

HOLTZ CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL PATIENT MAKES DREAM COME TRUE TO WALK HIS MOTHER DOWN THE AISLE AT SURPRISE WEDDING

14-year-old boy and brother saved their allowance for a year to plan their parents wedding
Who:

Alexis Castellon, Holtz Children’s patient
Darwin Castellon, Alexis’ brother
Elias Castellon and Yolanda Maradiaga, Alexis’ parents
Luz Juliana Barahona, MD, UHealth resident of pediatric pulmonary medicine at Holtz Children’s Hospital 
Holtz Children’s Hospital Palliative Care Department, nurses and social workers

What:

Brothers Alexis and Darwin Castellon, have been dreaming of their parents’ church wedding for a year. They planned when and where it would happen, and even saved their Christmas, birthday, and weekly allowance money to help pay for their mother’s wedding gown and wedding bands. 

But in October, all plans were halted when Alexis, 14, became gravely ill with a lung bleed. Alexis, who has suffered from Cystic Fibrosis since he was a baby, was hospitalized at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, where he remained in a coma for three weeks.

The condition – a life-threatening and genetic disease – causes persistent lung infections, and progressively limits the ability to breathe. In Alexis’ case, the disease has also affected his liver and pancreas. He is currently on the transplant list, waiting for a new liver.

“When Alexis came into the hospital, we didn’t think he would make it, and we were told to say our goodbyes,” said Yolanda Maradiaga, Alexis’ mother.
 
Before Alexis became ill, his parents had set a date for a church wedding – Saturday, November 14. All expenses had been paid, and they had family flying from New York and Los Angeles to attend the ceremony.

But Alexis’ parents chose to postpone when their son got sick. 

“Alexis tells me how he dreams of walking me down the aisle, and marry his dad,” said Yolanda. “We tried to see if he could leave the hospital for a day, but his doctor told us the risk would be too high.”

Instead, the hospital staff will be hosting a wedding for Alexis’ parents – on the very day the couple had initially planned to wed. 

On Saturday, November 14, a conference room at Jackson Memorial Hospital will be transformed into a wedding chapel. Alexis’ dream of walking his mother down the aisle will come true – but he doesn’t know it yet. “We plan to surprise Alexis on Saturday,” said Yolanda. “He has no idea that the wedding is still on, and that he will walk me down the aisle as he always dreamed.”

The priest from their church in Boyton Beach will officiate the ceremony at Jackson, while friends and family from New York and Los Angeles will also be present on the festivities.

When: November 17, 2015, 12:30 p.m.
Where:

Jackson Memorial Hospital
Ira Clark Diagnostic Treatment Center, Room 259
Corner of NW 19th street and 12th avenue
Miami, FL 33136

Editor's Note:

Media can park at the curb outside of DTC. Media will be greeted in the lobby DTC at 12:15 p.m.

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Jackson Health System
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136