cystic fibrosis

Woman in Need of 2nd Double Lung Transplant Weds Love of Her Life in Dream Ceremony

“We’ve kind of realized that if we wait it might not happen,” she said

Read the couple's full vows to each other at the end of this story.

Caleigh Haber and Bryan Takayama don't know how many days they have left together, so they're making every moment count - and their wedding was no exception.

The pair were married Saturday in a last-minute ceremony that saw strangers, family and friends coming together to help them celebrate their love in the most unforgettable of ways. 

With nearly every element of their big day donated, Haber, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and is in need of a life-saving double lung transplant she may not receive, said "I do" to the love of her life. 

"I’m sorry, my love, that you won’t always have me in your life but I promise you every minute I’m alive I will always dedicate myself to you," she said in her vows. "I will never stop fighting to stay alive because I want to continue to share memories with you and share a family with you." 

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Even as Haber stares death in the face, the couple's love stood unwavering - and they made that clear Saturday, their one-year anniversary as a couple. 

"I have a few promises I would like to declare in the presence of you, our families, and friends," Takayama said during the emotional ceremony. "Above all else, I promise to love you and care for you unconditionally for eternity. I promise to consider your health in every decision and action and do all in my power to ensure we optimize life while maximizing health. I promise to always keep your best interests and wishes in mind no matter the situation. I promise to help you carry the weight of your disease - whether that be nagging you about enzymes and ensures to talking through the mental and emotional anguish it causes to being your number 1 advocate in the hospital and life. I will do everything in my power to carry as much of the load as I can." 

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Haber needs a double lung transplant to live, but experts say she likely wouldn’t survive the procedure, and because of that, they can’t approve her as part of their transplant program.

The 27-year-old has already undergone her first double lung transplant, a procedure she had once hoped would give her new life. Although she said she was "extremely grateful" to her donor, the match wasn't as perfect as they'd hoped, and Haber's body has fully rejected her new lungs. 

Now, she’s in kidney failure, has lost a significant amount of weight and is struggling to simply breathe.

“If someone is running a marathon or working out, that’s pretty much what my body is doing all the time,” she said.

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Of the many hospitals she applied for a transplant at, Haber said all but three have declined her.

The couple, who have been dating for a year, decided to get married and live out Haber’s dream while they still can.

“We’ve kind of realized that if we wait it might not happen,” she said.

So, with the help of her family and friends, Haber planned a wedding in just seven days.

From a wedding planner to music to a photographer and more, strangers flocked to help make Haber’s longtime dream a reality.

Even a GoFundMe page started to help the couple pay for their honeymoon surpassed its $10,000 goal within just hours of being posted.

By Tuesday, the goal had been raised to $35,000, with more than $25,000 raised. Any extra funds raised will go to helping pay for Haber’s medical bills and the medical needs of others suffering from cystic fibrosis, said bridesmaid and Chicago native Tiffany Au.

"Overwhelmed with emotion that you have all supported us and shown us unconditional love," Haber wrote on Instagram over the weekend. "As we begin this journey sharing a life together it is so important to have a village behind us."

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While Haber continues to take things day by day, and focus on her big day, in the back of her mind, she’s still hoping at least one hospital will consider her for a transplant.

“I love [Bryan] and I love our life so much there’s no possible way I can make the decision to stop,” she said.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the current median predicted survival age is close to 40.

Haber, who said she is used to facing “life or death decisions every day,” doesn’t know if she’ll make it to 28, but she said her latest diagnosis isn't keeping her from trying. And this time, she has a partner for life by her side. 

Read their full vows below:

Caleigh

(Haber recited her vows to Takayama as he stood blindfolded before their "first look.")

The moment my eyes met yours a year ago you smiled at me. Your strong jawbone and the twinkle in your eyes stopped me in my tracks. You’ve told me before it was love at first sight but to me I had no idea how much my life would change because of you. Months before I met you I fought the hardest battle of my life. One I probably shouldn’t have survived. But like all things in this world I believe my guardian angels kept me on this Earth for a reason. That reason being not only to stay a part of my friends and family’s lives but also yours. You are and have always been the missing piece to the puzzle of my heart. Every night for a month you would text me from Ireland. Your photos of the epic adventures you were experiencing would make the struggles in my life disappear. I could tell my lust and admiration for you was growing with each word I would text you in response. Eventually December 1st came and you told me you were coming to San Francisco. Oblivious, I thought you were traveling for work but instead you were coming to spend time with me. The day you arrived I somehow pulled myself out of bed for the first time in 4 weeks and met you for lunch at La Mar. Although I made you spend WAY too much money on a meal I couldn’t eat, our first day together was magic. I mentioned the possible idea of giving you a tour around my city in a yellow car. Although that day wasn’t perfect; with every restaurant and bar we went to being closed, somehow it was the best date of my life. Your spontaneity blew me away. You just went with the flow. No complaints and no questions. By the end of our first day together I remember my mind and body bagging you for a kiss. I even made a bet that if you won you got a kiss, truly just wanting the kiss out of my own desire. Days passed and when our lips locked my whole body was fascinated to find out more about you. Lucky enough for me as each day passed you kept coming back to me. In my life it’s important to love each day to the fullest and somehow you keep up with that same mindset. Within three days of you being in San Francisco the missing puzzle piece to my heart started to fill in every second I discovered the person you were and are. I saw the way you treated me and treated others around you. I have a clear memory of the text you sent me telling me you weren’t going to leave San Francisco until you got to said good bye to me. That moment and that text meant so much to me that you understood the situation and still wanted to be by my side. Through the traveling cross county, the hospital admissions and the moments people have doubted my chances of survival, you have stood by me. 

I’m sorry, my love, that you won’t always have me in your life but I promise you every minute I’m alive I will always dedicate myself to you. I will never stop fighting to stay alive because I want to continue to share memories with you and share a family with you. You inspire me to fight harder, to put myself through another transplant, to look past the chaos within my family, to drink ensures and to take my medications. You have made me a better person and I vow to continue to strive to be better every day. To be more selfless, more compassionate, more driven, more giving, and the best wifey I can be to you. I vow to be your Bonnie every day for the rest of our lives. 

Forever and always,

Caleigh

Bryan

Caleigh Sarah Haber,

Since Day 1, I knew there was something special about you. A few buddies here can attest to it because I wouldn't stop saying exactly that. And while I'm a confident person, I'm not normally a very forward person…but given there was something so special about you, the words kind of just came out when I returned the bouquet you caught saying this will be a crazy story we tell our friends at our wedding that I brought you flowers at 3:30 am in a Jack in the Box.

Well, here we are, exactly 1 year later and I stand with certainty that there is not a single thing I regret on our journey. I've learned and grown immensely. I've been an adult for a while, but for most of it I was a kid in adult shoes. When we became serious, I realized I needed to update my priorities and actions. I had to become a man to properly commit to a life together. I remember the day it truly set in - January 29th, 2017 - your first admission in our relationship. I was in Austin for a business when I got a text message from you, "They believe I am going into rejection." I didn't know what this truly meant, but I knew it was bad. I was a wreck the rest of the day. It was throughout this day that I realized that if I was serious about this, I needed to get my butt on a plane and get home to the love of my life - While I say 'home,' I was really just sleeping over at Lizeth's place at this point, but deep down I knew, wherever you are is home. I was serious, So I did. 

It was then that I committed to not just being your boyfriend who likes to grab a drink and go to the movies with you, but to being your partner in this crazy life of yours. This crazy life that is now ours.

With this commitment, I have a few promises I would like to declare in the presence of you, our families, and friends. 

Above all else, I promise to love you and care for you unconditionally for eternity

I promise to consider your health in every decision and action and do all in my power to ensure we optimize life while maximizing health.

I promise to always keep your best interests and wishes in mind no matter the situation

I promise to help you carry the weight of your disease - whether that be nagging you about enzymes and ensures to talking through the mental and emotional anguish it causes to being your number 1 advocate in the hospital and life. I will do everything in my power to carry as much of the load as I can.

But not everything I want to discuss in this moment, is health - what really makes you special, what really stands out to me and the world is how you've taken your situation and found a way to appreciate and love all of the right things about life. It's the sparkle in your eye when talking about an adventure, it's you seeing snow for the first time in ages and screaming in joy and diving in for snow angels, it's your excitement for a spontaneous roadtrip to Niagra Falls, it's your desire to create traditions based on everything you love in life so future generations can have the opportunity to capture a semblance of you and what makes you happy, it's you driving down Route 1 with the wind in your hair, arms out, eyes closed breathing in the salty air appreciating every aspect of the moment. 

It's your desire to live.

So with this, I have a few more promises I would like to declare in the presence of you, our families, and friends 

I promise to not only share your excitement for life, but to do everything I can to amplify it

I promise to provide for you in every aspect of life

I promise to help build your legacy and share it with the world around us so everyone can see what true strength and determination is and can do

I promise to work endlessly for us to become the absolute best versions of ourselves

I promise to be your best friend, to confide in you, to share my feelings with you

Lastly, I promise to be yours, and only yours 

Thank you for everything you've given me so far. Thank you helping me become the man I am today. Thank you for accepting my flaws and helping illuminate my strengths. Thank you for dedicating yourself for you and I to become us.

I love you, Caleigh. I promise, when I say forever and always, it is not just a phrase - it is a promise and a commitment that is tattooed forever on my heart, mind, and soul.

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