5-year-old ‘marries’ love of her life before fourth open-heart surgery

MERIDEN, Conn. — A 5-year-old girl had one wish before she had her fourth open heart surgery — marry her best friend.

Sophia Chiappalone was born with half of a heart and doctors didn’t think she would live past the age of 2, according to WFLA.

Sophia is set to undergo her next surgery in January, but wanted to marry her best friend, Hunter, ahead of time “just in case.”

“It became apparent that her heart wasn’t looking as well as they would like and we knew she needed treatment,” Kristy Somerset-Chiappalone told ABC News.  “She said she wanted to be a princess and marry Hunter.

“That’s all she wanted in the world, was to marry the love of her life.”

Hunter is her best friend from preschool. They met each other when they were 3 years old and have been inseparable ever since.

So when his mom found out, she knew she had to do something.

Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone the beautiful baby with a broken heart had a beautiful little wish. She wanted to get married…

Posted by Sassy Mouth Photo on Monday, October 23, 2017

“I contacted my best friend who’s a photographer about maybe doing a mock bridal shoot and she was game,” Hunter’s mom, Tracy Laferriere, told NBC Connecticut.

On Oct. 23, the two joined together and exchanged “vows” while Sassy Mouth Photography captured the priceless images.

“Just seeing Sophia’s smile, he didn’t complain once,” Laferriere said. “He was genuinely having a fun time. They were laughing together, tickling, swinging and on the slides.

“I think he really enjoyed it. I think it makes him happy to see her happy.”

Somerset-Chiappalone said Sophia “felt like a princess” but it was a day of mixed emotion for her.

“I was trying so hard to be strong,” she said. “I’m trying to be strong for Sophia. In reality, she’s slipping into heart failure more and more, and this might be the only time I ever see her in a wedding dress. That was going through my head.”

While Sophia wore a white princess dress and had a bouquet of flowers, Hunter dressed up in a little suit. Somerset-Chiappalone hopes one day they can have a real wedding.

“I hope that Sophia is going to live a long life and marry Hunter when she’s 25,” Somerset-Chiappalone said. “But my hope for the future is that Sophia stays happy and healthy as long as her body can handle.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Sophia and her journey is being documented on Facebook.