Dream come true for 9-year-old patient when she 'marries' nurse aide

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There’s a very special friendship on the tenth floor of Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital between a little girl and her nurse aide.

“She’s been here a long time,” said Caleb Brown, 19.

“I just love Caleb,” said Gracelyn Traver, 9.

Caleb and Gracelyn first met during one of her many visits to the hospital. She always comes to the 10th floor.

“You’d never know she’s as sick as she is,” said Gracelyn’s mom, Nicole.

Two years ago, the Traver family adopted Gracelyn from China. She was born with severe kidney problems. Their family was complete the day they brought her to North Carolina. She didn’t speak any English but had all the love in her heart for her new family. Since then, she’s had 22 operations and has become a regular at LCH.

“We were supposed to get discharged for her birthday,” explained Nicole who tried to comfort her daughter. Gracelyn was pretty upset. She, like most kids, didn’t want to be in the hospital on her birthday.

“I asked her what her one birthday wish would be and she said she wanted to marry Caleb. I just played it off,” said Traver.

“Beautiful. You must see the picture,” pointed Gracelyn to a photo on the closet of her hospital room.

Timing was everything. Gracelyn’s grandmother happened to find a white flower girl dress at a consignment shop because Gracelyn loves to play dress up. Thanks to a little lipstick from Grandma, the birthday girl became the birthday bride.

“I got married on my ninth birthday,” Gracelyn proudly said.

“Next thing I know she’s walking down the hall in a white dress,” said Brown, who played along with the birthday request.

Gracelyn was escorted down the hospital hallway to meet her favorite friend.

“The nurses played the wedding march. It’s not even the real deal but to just see what she has accomplished in two years is amazing and she’s so full of life,” said Traver who got a little teary-eyed during the March 2nd celebration.

“We did two services. One for the day shift and then her night shift nurses wanted to see it as well so we did a little combo,” said Brown.

They twirled around to “At Last” by Etta James before Gracelyn returned to her hospital bed. Her birthday and wedding celebration fell between two emergency surgeries.

“Being here isn’t easy and with their situation it was exactly what they needed,” said Brown.

Traver used to work in Levine Children’s Hospital.

“You don’t get it until you’re on the family side and until you are living it. It’s hard on the families but Caleb and the other nurses make it breathable and doable,” said Traver.

“He gave me a ring and it’s my dream,” said Gracelyn.

A dream come true. Sealed with an ice cream cone ring.