A Wedding for an Angel

Posthumous marriage ceremony honors disabled humanitarian

By Matt Bartosik
|  Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009  |  Updated 2:01 PM CDT
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Annie Hopkins

Stephen Hopkins

Annie Hopkins was so full of happiness and life, she continued sharing it with friends and family after her death.

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Annie Hopkins got the wedding of her dreams on Saturday.

About 240 guests showed up at the Gaslight Manor banquet hall in Aurora to honor the 24-year-old woman, who had died from complications with a treatment she was receiving for spinal muscular atrophy.

Hopekins' brother scheduled the posthumous wedding -- admittedly, a strange undertaking -- in memory of his sister, who was fascinated by them.

Her friends and family remembered her as a courageous person so full of happiness and life, she shared it with those around her.

Her greatest wish was to continue sharing that happiness after her death.

"We were very close, and we talked about how we'd probably never get married," her older brother, Steve, told the Tribune. He has the same condition as his sister and also uses a wheelchair. "She always said that if she died, she wanted a party."

"This is how she would want to be remembered," he said.

Young Annie will also be remembered for all her work with the disabled. Confined to a wheelchair, the UIC graduate student didn't let physical ailments stop her from pursuing a doctoral degree and starting her own company, 3E Love, a marketing company that promoted disability awareness through clothing, education materials and art.

Annie's posthumous wedding also served as a fundraiser for the Anne Hopkins Foundation, an organization that Steve started, which grants scholarships to college students "who demonstrate a similar life's passion to Annie's to improve the lives of people with disabilities."

Steve hopes to make the celebration an annual event.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, is in awe of such productive and wonderful people.

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