Clyde Christy set a goal for himself months ago. To be able to walk his daughter Kaitlynn Shwallon down the aisle on her wedding day. And while serious health issues threatened it, he never gave up the dream.
A few weeks ago, the dream became a reality. Christy walked her down the aisle with both the bride and dad wearing white. Dad's, though, was just a little bit untraditional. He wore a white Bruce Gradkowski jersey.
Christy is a patient of Pilgrimage Hospice, which is owned by Gradkowski, and had the opportunity to meet the Steelers' quarterback several weeks before the wedding and form a bond. Since his health didn't allow him to be fitted for a tuxedo, he told Gradkowski he was going to wear a Steelers jersey, and he wanted it to be his because of the connection.
"He is a huge Steelers fan," said Gradkowski, who provided him with the jersey. "I was thinking all of the great Steelers players and him wanting to wear mine, I felt honored and blessed. That put everything in perspective. To be able to be there for someone in this time of their life and be a positive influence. This was special."
Even up until the day of the wedding Shwallon wasn't certain her dad would be able to do it, and had her brother on standby. But when she arrived at the wedding venue in a horse drawn carriage, and he was waiting for her, tears flowed.
"I lost it," said Kaitlynn. "He had so much determination to do it. The whole way down the aisle I was bawling.
"Since he is a big Steelers fan we decided he was going to wear a Steelers jersey. I just didn't know which one. Bruce has been awesome. He was done so much. When Bruce comes to visit dad he gets so excited. It means a lot to him. For Bruce to be able to give that to our dad means so much to us."