Martinsville couple marries at Duke University Hospital as man receiving end-of-life care

Southside Virginia News

(Photo: Courtesy Duke Health)

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — After spending nine years together, a Martinsville couple got married on Friday at a North Carolina hospital where the man is receiving his end-of-life care.

Duke University Hospital says Jeffrey Benesch and Sarah Myler got married outside the Duke Medicine Pavilion on Friday, March 26.

(Photo: Courtesy Duke Health)

Event though Jeffrey’s heart disease and ongoing hospitalization at Duke prevented the couple from having the wedding they hoped for, the hospital says they still fulfilled their dream in a touching ceremony.

“Just because we love each other,” Sarah said.

According to Duke University Hospital, members of Jeffrey’s care team, their friends and family, hospital chaplains, and musicians helped to put the ceremony together.

“Jeffrey was not eligible for a transplant or other interventions, but Sarah will always carry his spirit and their love for each other in her heart,” Duke University Hospital posted on Facebook on Saturday, March 27. “…We are inspired by the couple’s bravery and commitment, and we are humbled to be part of this beautiful event.”

Sarah organized a GoFundMe a few days after the wedding to help cover Jeffrey’s end-of-life expenses. You can read the fundraiser description below:

Jeff and Sarah are facing challenges related to Jeff’s long-term medical issues. Jeff is a fantastic guy, generous and caring – the kind of guy who would do whatever he can to help those in need. His service as a volunteer fireman and helping those in the community have endeared him to many. Jeff has been under hospital-based cardiac care since December at Duke Hospital, undergoing surgeries and procedures with the hope of receiving procedures that will allow at-home care while awaiting a heart transplant. Recent changes in his condition mean that this may not happen. Sarah has used all of her leave and FMLA  to care for him and to be his emotional support and care manager every day for the past four months.  Sarah’s FMLA leave (without pay) has expired and she has had to resign from her job to help care for Jeff. Because of COVID restrictions, she is the only person who has been able to be in the hospital every day. Jeff and Sarah live a 1.5 hour commute from Duke and the expenses of the daily commute, the loss of income, ongoing medical costs, and end of life planning expenses are reaching the point where they will lose their house without help soon.  Please consider helping Jeff and Sarah.

As of 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, 72 donors have raised $4,364 of the GoFundMe’s $10,000 goal. If you wish to donate to Sarah and Jeffrey’s expenses, click here.

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