Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone is a beautiful little girl with a broken heart. The five year old has 11 heart defects, but only one wish – to marry her best friend before it’s too late. 

Thanks to a Connecticuit photographer, Sophia’s dream came true. Sophia ‘married’ her best friend, Hunter in a photo series that proves the power of friendship, love and support.

Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone terminally ill little girl marries best friend Hunter in pretend wedding

Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone terminally ill little girl marries best friend Hunter in pretend wedding

It’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life. And for little Sophia, it was. The day she “married” her best friend, Hunter, was pure innocent perfection.

However, behind the beautiful photos of the happy couple, there is an underlying sense of sadness and heartbreak. This fairy tale photo shoot will probably be the closest Sophia ever gets to wedded bliss.

Sophia’s broken heart

There is no doubt – Sophia is a little fighter. She was born with number of terminal heart defects, including Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia, a Ventricular Septum Defect and several other heart defects. This little sweetheart only has half a heart. Sophia has spent most of her life in and out of hospital and was not expected to live past the age of two.

Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone terminally ill little girl

“She’s a walking miracle. There is no life expectancy at this time because there’s no reason for her to be alive,” her mum, Kristy, explains.

Sophia has recently also been diagnosed with lung failure. She is scheduled for her fourth open heart surgery, another risky and life-threatening procedure, very soon.

Before the surgery, Sophia came to her mum with a request – to marry her best friend, a little boy named Hunter, who has been by Sophia’s side since preschool.

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

True love conquers all

Thanks to Marisa Balletti-Lavoie from Sassy Mouth Photography, Kristy was able to fulfill her daughter’s wish. Kristy, Marisa and Hunter’s mum, Tracy, set up the perfect park wedding for the two little lovebirds.

Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone terminally ill little girl marries best friend Hunter in pretend wedding

Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone terminally ill little girl pretend wedding

“I was so honoured and excited to be the one to document the big day!” Marisa writes on her Facebook page, where she shares the photos.

“I could cry looking at all the joy in these images!!! Sophia, it was my pleasure to help make your dream come true sweetheart!”

Sophia Elyssa Chiappalone terminally ill little girl marries best friend Hunter in pretend wedding

Sophia absolutely radiates with innocent beauty. Her smile says it all. Dressed in a gown donated by Bliss Bridal, Sophia dons a gorgeous veil and a bouquet of yellow flowers. And Hunter is as dapper as can be in a matching yellow collared shirt.

terminally ill little girl marries her best friend in sweet photo shoot

You can’t help but tear up at the absolute happiness and heartbreak that accompanies the photos. Alongside those cheeky smiles is the sadness that Sophia is battling a fight she may not win.

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

Regardless of how much time Sophia has left, she’s got a best mate who will remain by her side.

“Most people wait a lifetime for someone who would stand by them through such illness. She met a best friend and love of her life who does.”

We wish Sophia all the best on her upcoming surgery. You can read all about her journey through her GoFundMe page and see more wedding photo at Sassy Mouth Photography.

For more photo series that pull at the heartstrings, see our story on the mother and son both battling terminal brain cancer. 

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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