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Bittersweet wedding held at hospital to fulfill dying wish

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IT WAS certainly not a typical wedding – and not in a typical setting. There was no white gown, no wedding march and no fanfare, but it leaves a bittersweet memory for the bride and groom to remember for years to come.

Clifforde Kusterbeck, 21, and Bianca Lyn Cecilia Johnson James, 20, tied the knot at Guam Memorial Hospital yesterday morning.

The young couple held the hospital wedding as a dying wish for Iva Reyes Quintanilla, who has a terminal brain tumor. The 44-year-old Quintanilla was motionless during the intimate wedding ceremony officiated by Sen. Frank Aguon.

“My mom has always been there for me and she always pushes me to do a lot of things; this is the only thing I could do for her before she leaves,” said Kusterbeck, who just finished his basic training at the U.S. Army base in Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

“She’s terminal. She won’t make it. I was on my last week of my training when I found out three weeks ago,” said Kusterbeck, who is expecting to be deployed soon. “I’m not sure when but I am hearing that I will be called for deployment any time.”

Kusterbeck and Bianca have been together for three years. They have a 10-year-old daughter.

“I am happy that they allowed us to do this wedding here. I am very close to his mom and it’s amazing how his family and my family get along so well like we are one family. This will bring us even closer,” said the teary-eyed bride, holding her daughter.

The wedding was attended by immediate family members, including Clifforde’s father, Gilbert Kusterbeck, and a couple of friends.

“This is a special case because Clifforde gave his mother’s wish before he gets deployed,” Aguon said. “Honoring his mother’s wish says a lot about his character. He continues to honor is familial responsibility while he serves our country.”

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