Kirsty Harvey, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, saw many couples exchange vows after qualifying as a celebrant.
Having married over 200 couples before her death, Kirsty was determined to help couples tie the knot – sometimes even leaving her hospital ward to attend ceremonies.
Now, her sister Julie Geddes, who nursed Kirsty when was alive, has called on couples to dig out any recordings they have of Kirsty so she can splice them together, and have her sister speak at her own wedding.
Julie, 43, will marry partner Gordon Bond, 49, at a lodge near Carrbridge in the Highlands in October and plans to use video footage of her sister at work to put her words together for a special reading.
“I know Kirsty would have absolutely loved to be involved in my wedding,” Julie said.
“I always planned to have her as part of the day and intend to have life-size cardboard figures of Kirsty throughout the wedding venue in a light-hearted way of her being there.
“But very recently I was asked what symbolic gestures and readings we wanted for the ceremony and I thought I’d love to have Kirsty do a reading somehow. In an age when we thankfully have so many videos of loved ones that are no longer with us, I thought perhaps I would be able to cut and paste them together.”
She continued: “I put a post on social media and I’ve had an overwhelming response from people, with some clambering up to their lofts for their wedding videos or videographers scrolling through past recordings to capture footage they have of Kirsty.
“I think she would be giving it her wicked cackling laugh at the thought of us trying to piece together her voice to get her to be part of our day.”
Kirsty was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child, with her family warned she may not live past five years old.
While she defied her doctors, Kirsty’s health declined in her twenties; her lungs had become so badly damaged that she was on oxygen 24 hours a day and she struggled to walk and do simple tasks like comb her hair.
At the age of 26, she received the lung transplant which not only saved but transformed her life.
Julie, who worked as a nurse in the army, spent three weeks with Kirsty by her hospital bedside as she recovered from the life-changing surgery.
The transplant gave Kirsty a new lease of life, and she decided to live her life to the fullest.
“Kirsty received a double lung transplant, gifted by a lady we only know as Allison. Her recovery was incredible and she accomplished so much in the extra time she was given,” Julie explained.
“This exceptional gift allowed her to marry Dougie. She surprised her friends by organising what they thought was her engagement party and, once everyone was settled and the drinks were flowing, she disappeared and got changed into her wedding dress as it was really her wedding day.
“She also completed the Glasgow Women’s 10K just six months after her transplant. She climbed Ben Nevis. She bagged a few Munros.
“She travelled the world including Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Dubai and across America and Europe.
“She met her newest nephew Logan and watched her other nieces and nephews – Caitlin, Tamsyn and Joshua – grow.
“The transplant allowed her to be part of so many of her friends’ and family’s life events and it also allowed her to spread the word about organ donation.”
Kirsty’s body, however, started to reject her lungs, with the medication to help the symptoms causing serious and irreversible liver damage.
She died at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow surrounded by her family.
“There is a phrase ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’ and my goodness Kirsty was definitely a happening,” Julie said.
“We enjoyed an additional eight-and-a-half years we would never have had with Kirsty had it not been for organ donation
and the generosity of strangers.
“She became such an ambassador for organ donation and as a family we want to do the same to continue her legacy.”