Bride with bone cancer who married at Good Samaritan Hospital dies
04/18/2014 06:47:49 PM EDT
Brian Neff kisses Heather Miller after they are pronounced husband and wife by Pastor Lloyd Deitzler in a conference room at the Good Samaritan Hospital on Saturday, April 5, 2014. They had planned to get married on Aug. 16, but Miller's aggressive bone cancer led hospital and hospice staff to put together Saturday's ceremony instead. (Jeremy Long Lebanon Daily News)
html">international headlines after the Lebanon Daily News covered the Fredericksburg couple's ceremony on April 5.
A 37-year-old Fredericksburg woman with terminal bone cancer who got married in a ceremony at Good Samaritan Hospital earlier this month, died Friday.
Heather Miller Neff passed away about noon at the hospital, said her mother, Rene Miller.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Friday evening.
"She touched a lot of people," Miller said.
Neff and Brian Neff became husband and wife on April 5 in a simple ceremony in a conference room outside the intensive care unit at the hospital.
They had set a wedding date of Aug. 16 before Neff was diagnosed with bone cancer, and the couple chose to move up the wedding because of Neff's worsening condition. With the help of several businesses, family, friends and hospital and hospice staff, the wedding ceremony came together in two days.
The story immediately went viral and made
LDNews Facebook readers congratulated the couple and showed an outpouring of support.
"I get to marry the man of my dreams," Neff said in an interview with the Lebanon Daily News the day before her wedding.
"She found somebody she truly loved," Miller said Friday evening. "He loved her just as much."
Miller said Heather and Brian were able to enjoy the time that she had left.
"It's a hard thing to know that she's no longer here," Miller said. "She will always be with us no matter what. She loved life, she loved her animals, she loved her family."
Neff had two puppies and two cats, Miller said.
"She always had some sort of animal she had rescued, even as a kid," her mother said.
She said her daughter would do anything for animals.
"She didn't like hearing when animals were mistreated," Miller said.
As much as she loved animals, she loved her family just as much, Miller said.
In addition to her mother, Neff is survived by her father, John, and her brother, John.
Miller thanked the hospital and hospice staff for the care they provided her daughter.
"They were wonderful, the doctors, everybody," Miller said. "I know she would want to thank everybody for their cards and well wishes."
Miller said her daughter made many new friends with the hospital and hospice staff.
"They were so compassionate. She found some true, true friends," her mother said.
Miller said her daughter was touched by the response the newspaper story about her wedding received.
But, she said, her daughter would not want to be remembered by her friends because of her cancer. She wanted them to remember the good times they had together, Miller said.
Her daughter told friends visiting her in the hospital to enjoy their lives, Miller said.
In a Feb. 14 message on her Facebook page, Neff wrote: "To all those that have been trying to contact me, sorry I haven't been able to get back to you, but I've put on my gloves and entered the ring with the toughest opponent of my life, cancer. So far it's been an exhausting fight and I need my energy to continue my journey to beat this and be cancer free."
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