Hospice gives elderly couple the beautiful wedding photos they never got
Photo by Gert Stockmans on Unsplash

Enduring love deserves a celebration anew.

Royce and Frankie King have a romance fitting of a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Their marriage happened in the blink of an eye in September 1944, squeezed in during Royce's two-day leave before going to fight overseas in World War II … with no photos to show for it.

That impromptu wedding turned into an enduring love and a lasting marriage of 77 years. For their anniversary, Royce and Frankie received a special gift from the staff at St. Croix Hospice: their long overdue wedding day photos.

According to the Today Show, the hospice spared no efforts to make their backyard wedding day extra magical. A gorgeous vintage 1940s dress was found for Frankie, and she walked down the aisle holding a fresh bouquet of flowers from their very own patio to classic '40s tunes played by St. Croix's music therapist. Their professional photos were even taken by Hilary Michelson, a fellow St. Croix staffer.



Michelson made a Facebook post about capturing the heartwarming anniversary scene, sharing that she couldn't help but feel emotional. She wrote that she had "absolutely no shame in the fact that I had a hard time keeping it together behind the lens."

Hilary wasn't alone in her sentiment. For many of the staff, the entire ceremony was a heartwarming journey back in time.

St. Croix Hospice CEO Heath Bartness told TODAY, "How can you not have a sense of overwhelming emotion? The connectivity you almost feel that you were a part of this, and thinking back to what it was like in World War II the first time, and how meaningful and how emotional this second opportunity to do this was. There's an overwhelming sense of pride in not just the company and what the organization did, but more so just as an act of humanity."

Even the internet was taken aback. In addition to a ton of OMGs accompanied by "happy tear" emojis, Michelson's post featuring Mr. & Mrs. King received nothing but loving comments.

One user wrote: "Breathtaking moments captured in so many ways."

Another put, "This is one of the sweetest things I have seen. Thanks to the hospice and all involved for making this their special day. Brought tears to my eyes. Lovely!!"

As for Frankie and Royce?

"They were just very excited and honored that St. Croix would do that for them," their daughter Sue Bilodeau said to TODAY. "They liked to be in the limelight, dad especially, and mom was so happy to put on a gown and be beautiful. I think they were just overwhelmed at the whole day."

Bilodeau added that the couple had also partaken in the "first look" ritual. When Royce, dashing in his Air Force uniform, lifted his blindfold to look upon his bride, "he had just the biggest smile the rest of the day. It was amazing," she said.

She also noted that their kiss was long. Very, very long.

What an uplifting testament that some things really do get better with age. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet I think for Royce and Frankie, only one one word will permeate in these photos: love.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."