Kayla and Matt

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How We Met

Our story began during the fall of 2014. I was working as a Registered Nurse in the Medical/Surgical/Telemetry Unit at our local hospital. Matt was working at the local fire station as a full time firefighter/paramedic but also worked in the Emergency Department, at the same hospital, as paramedic technician. We both had steady jobs, our careers were on an uphill climb, and we were looking for the next big step in our lives. Who knew that it was just right around the corner (literally!)

Well you see, online dating was a huge craze during this time, and it seemed as though it was all anyone could talk about. With apps like Tinder, OkCupid, etc., it had suddenly become the normal way of meeting and asking people out. Well, myself on the other hand, was sure that I would meet “the one” on a beautiful fall day as I was reading a book and drinking a cup of joe at a local coffee shop. Boy, was I wrong! I let society get to me, and I finally cracked and downloaded a dating app, just to see what this craze was all about of course. I would receive messages, but they would go unacknowledged. I sure wasn’t going to talk to any guy who thinks the best way to meet a girl is on a dating website!

And then the unexpected happened. Matt happened. He popped up and said “Hello.” I noticed he was only a mile away from me, so I thought I might as well say hi back, besides it would be nice having a guy friend around anyways. Several weeks went by with small talk here and there, but nothing major. We basically knew each others first name and a few of our hobbies. Then suddenly, I decided to delete the app. After all, it wasn’t me anyway. So I said goodbye to the app. Which also meant goodbye to Matt.

Several weeks later, while I was working I saw a handsome fellow come to my unit to drop off a patient. I decided to ask around and see who he was. After talking to my co-workers, I decided to reach out to him and befriend him. Little did I know, this was the same guy I had talked to several weeks before on the dating app. He asked me out for drinks that night, and I said yes. I couldn’t help but think that maybe this was fate and we were brought back together for a reason. We exchanged numbers that night and began texting back and forth.

Many weeks went by and several conversations later, I found out that I had a lot in common with Matt. Despite the commonalities, I thought this was just a coincidence and that it happens all of the time. Matt kept asking me to go on a “real date,” but I made every excuse under the sun, because I was sure that he wasn’t my type. Finally, I agreed to give him a chance and allow him to take me on a real date. We met up one night to compare our work schedules to see when our “real first date” could be planned. I looked over as he was walking towards me. He opened my passenger door and got in my car. My heart fluttered and skipped a beat. This moment…. this was the moment I had been waiting for my whole entire life. It was in this moment that I realized I was falling in love with this man sitting beside me and knew he was “the one” and that I was going to marry him someday.

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how they asked

I volunteer for Camp Hope as a Registered Nurse every year. This year was a big year for me as it was my fifth year! Camp Hope is a camp held at Camp Aldrich in Claflin, Kansas every summer for children who have or have had cancer. It gives them a fun-filled week to forget about their cancer and to just be a kid again. It is one of the most treasured places on earth to me and I wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world.

On June 21st, 2017 (the Tuesday of camp), I was sitting at the lunch table eating lunch as announcements were being made. Announcements are always usually made before/during/after meals as everyone is in the same place at the same time. Suddenly they called me up to the stage as they were reading a “Dear Abby.”

{“Dear Abby” is a Camp Hope tradition in which the campers and/or volunteers can submit a letter about their week at camp. The director sings this letter out loud at meal times, then it is followed by the entire camp singing back the chorus to the song “Dear Abby.”}

I approached the stage completely confused as to why they were calling me up there. Once I got to the stage I stood next to the Camp Hope Director and three of our campers as they started to sing.

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It went a little something like this..

Dear Abby, Dear Abby

We have a request

Nurse Kayla, Nurse Kayla she is the best

Nurse Judy is here and she has a surprise

When Kayla opens this box, there’ll be tears in her eyes


Camp Hope Family

I look around confused and wondering what Nurse Judy has given me. Turns out Nurse Judy was at camp this day visiting and touring the newly rebuilt dining hall. Since Nurse Judy was the chair person of the nursing school I had attended, I immediately thought she must have given me an alumni gift and wanted to surprise me and share it with the entire Camp Hope Family.

The campers handed me a box to open. The entire camp stared at me with big eyes as I began to open the box. In the box I found a glass blown yellow rose with a ring attached to it. I began thinking “Awe this is so sweet, Nurse Judy got me an alumni gift.” It then dawned on me, why would Nurse Judy give me a ring? And why would she get only me a gift? (My best friend was at camp at the time and I had graduated with her from nursing school) About that time, I looked into the crowd as my future husband approached the stage. My jaw dropped as soon as I saw him, I was in shock, and I couldn’t believe my eyes! I approached my soon-to-be husband as I asked “Are you serious?” He responded, “Of course, I am.” And I said YES! The entire camp cheered and clapped and it was a moment no one will ever forget!

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Judy Wagner
 | Camp Hope Photographer