One of the best parts of weddings is getting to see the little flower girls and ring bearers walk down the aisle. But guests at bride Hayden Hatfield Ryals’ wedding got to witness something even more special when Skye Savren-McCormick, 3, served as the flower girl — because Ryals was Skye’s bone marrow donor.
In March 2016, doctors diagnosed Skye with lymphoma and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia — a rare blood cancer that usually affects kids under the age of four. That July, Skye was matched with Ryals for her first bone marrow transplant.
Months after her transplant, Ryals reached out to Skye’s family through Be the Match, the organization Ryals donated her bone marrow through, asking the little girl to be in her upcoming wedding.
Savren-McCormick said that during the wedding, her daughter “stepped out and took a giant, handful of flowers and threw them on the ground. One of the bridesmaids said everyone was ugly crying.”
“I had no idea Hayden had done such a brave thing until we met with her and her mother the week of the wedding and they told us the story and that Skye was coming,” photographer Mark Broadway tells Scary Mommy. “I was in tears, and Hayden was so nonchalant giving details of how they extracted her bone marrow. She said, ‘Oh it was no big deal! They put me to sleep and I don’t feel a thing.’”
“For patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases, a blood stem cell transplant could be their only chance of survival,” Amy Alegi, Vice President of Marketing and Communications tells Scary Mommy. “Yet 70% of individuals who need a transplant do not have a fully matched donor in their family. Be The Match needs more young men and women to join the fight to save more lives.”
Skye was thrilled to make the trip to Alabama to be the flower girl for “Hay-Hay’s” wedding. And it was at the rehearsal where Skye and Ryals saw each other for the first time. “I walked up and I just dropped to my knees and all I could do was smile,” Ryals said.
Their bond is one for the storybooks. “I always say they’re smitten for each other, they’re just in love. Hayden was holding Skye and Skye sat on her lap almost the entire time. They were just in their own little world together. They have a special bond,” Savren-McCormick said.
If you want more information on becoming a donor, please visit BeTheMatch.org/join.