Even as cancer ravaged his body earlier this year, 56-year-old Duane Dlouhy promised his youngest daughter, Demi, he would give her away at her July wedding.
He died in June — but he didn’t miss the big day.
The staff at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise helped the Dlouhy family pull off a hospital wedding on June 2, 2017, less than 24 hours after they were told a brain tumor would likely kill the father of three in days, possibly hours.
Joyful moments from the wedding, held at a rooftop garden at the hospital, recently were shared in a video that was posted on Saint Al’s Facebook page. The groom, Andrew Miller, is a nurse at the hospital.
“This is the way God planned it,” said Demi’s brother, Dustin, as the wedding party crowded into a hospital elevator. He officiated the wedding.
Demi, a sixth-grade teacher at Taft Elementary School in Boise, told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday that hospital staff went all out during a very difficult time for her family.
“Anything and everything we needed, they figured it out,” she said of the oncology staff.
Hospital staff readied the rooftop for the wedding and made a detailed schedule of everything that had to happen to ensure things went smoothly, including a medication schedule that would keep Duane Dlouhy lucid enough to participate but not be in excruciating pain. They brought in special food, clothes and a lift to help move the father of the bride from a bed into a wheelchair.
“My mom [Debbie] pushed him, and I held his hand,” Demi Dlouhy said. “He walked me down the aisle and gave me away.”
As a surprise for his daughter, Dlouhy picked out a song to dance to with his daughter. It was John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” His nickname for Demi was “Shino.”
“I was bawling,” she said. “It was perfect, and I wouldn’t take it back at all.”
Duane Dlouhy was a 6-foot-5 Boise State football tight end from 1978 to1981. He’s football royalty to Bronco fans, remembered for his game-winning catch at the end of the Division I-AA national championship game in 1980.
He was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer in August 2016, and his football buddies rallied to his side. He’d been sick for about a year before the colorectal cancer diagnosis, Demi Dlouhy said.