Dean Berckenhoff and his fiancée Monica had been dating for over almost two decades before they finally decided to get married this July. They had been putting the wedding off for years because without their son Colton around, the family just didn’t feel complete.
Back in 2012, the eleven-year-old was killed in a tragic accident, causing Dean and Monica unfathomable amounts of pain.
It took time to heal the wounds left by his passing but now, years later, the couple finally felt ready to officially tie the knot. Their only regret was that Colton wouldn’t be there in attendance.
However, the families of the two had a special surprise in store for them that would help get them through their special day.
It turns out, back when Colton passed, the family had made the tough decision to donate some of his organs to others in need.
“It wasn’t easy, it was a really hard decision to make because you know, that’s your family, that’s someone that you love,” Monica told KPRC-TV.
“Colton is a hero, he’s more of a hero than any person that I know, he saved more than just one life by donating his organs.”
One of the organ recipients was a 28-year-old man named Travis Stufflebean.
He received a small piece of the boy’s heart which gave him a new lease on life.
“It all started back in 1991. I was born with a bad heart and all through my life I’ve dealt with open-heart surgery,” said Stufflebean.
He was in desperate need of a transplant, and upon Colton’s death, Stufflebean got the heart that his body required. Neither Monica nor Dean had ever gotten a chance to meet the man in person.
That’s where the wedding day surprise idea came from.
The families decided that while Colton couldn’t be there himself to attend the ceremony, they could at least bring part of him in. As the couple stood in the courtroom to finalize their vows in front of the judge, the families called Travis in to approach the stand. They then gave the two of them a stethoscope so they could listen to their son’s heartbeat one last time in Travis’s chest.
The whole touching moment was captured on video and it’s something that you have to see for yourself.
Understandably, everyone involved was brought to tears.
“You’re bringing the heart back home. To me, this is just a temporary heart. I’m just borrowing it. To me, this is where it belongs, with this wonderful, awesome family,” Stufflebean said
Dean and Monica were both so thankful for the opportunity to finally meet the man.
It was such a beautiful surprise, albeit a little overwhelming for everyone involved.
“Overwhelmed, very overwhelmed, very surprised. We weren’t expecting that at all,” the couple said after completing the ceremony.
It helped give them much-needed closure as they continued on into the next chapter of their lives as husband and wife.
“Thank you a lot. It means a lot. I never thought we would get to meet him. Thank you,” said Monica as she wiped away the tears.
Sadly, Colton couldn’t be there to see his parents get married with his own eyes. Yet, a small piece of him lives on through Travis and all of the others who his organs helped to save.
Watch the full video of the emotional wedding ceremony visit below.
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The most incredible moment of this wedding ceremony came from a man the bride and groom had never met before. ❤️
Posted by Humankind on Wednesday, August 21, 2019