Are you ready for the greatest love story of a forever Valentine the Aussie bush has ever seen? Well listen up because this is one that’s sure to make you melt. And the most amazing part is that our Cunnamulla-Burke & Wills Remote Area Bush Chaplain, Cain Hartigan had the privilege of bearing witness to it all unfold.
On a gorgeous sunny day in October last year, Cain officiated the wedding of a couple whose incredible story is a testament to the resilience of people living in the bush and the power of love. The happy couple, affectionately known as ‘Hamo’ and ‘Budgie’ first met at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane in 2007. Hamo was on the waiting list for a heart transplant and was in the hospital for treatment.
On the 14th of February 2008, Hamo’s wait for a donor heart was over. While others were celebrating Valentine’s Day, he was wheeled into a hospital theatre to receive a lifesaving heart transplant.
As he recovered, Hamo continued to visit the hospital for checkups. At his 6-month checkup, one miracle turned into another when he finally plucked up the courage to ask Budgie – the nurse who had caught his eye – out on a coffee date. She said yes!
As Hamo continued his recovery, Budgie became his constant companion. The two of them would sit by the hospital pool, sharing a packet of hot chips and a bottle of red wine. The rest, as Cain told guests at the wedding, is history.
Cunnamulla-Burke & Wills Bush Chaplain Cain Hartigan officiating the wedding of Hamo and Budgie in October, 2020
In a touching addition to their wedding ceremony, Hamo and Budgie shared a prayer for the donor whose heart was the beginning of their love story.
“Thank you my friend, whoever you are. I am here today because you gave me the ultimate gift of life. I am healthy and thankful to you that I may live today. Today I give my heart away to my love and our two hearts are filled with love and thanks for your gift.”
This article is adapted from the February 2021 edition of Frontier News.