Every little girl dreams about her wedding day, complete with visions of a big beautiful white dress and, of course, the perfect man. But 9-year-old Jayla Cooper doesn't have a lifetime to wait for Mr. Right. The Southlake, TX, girl has been battling leukemia for two years, a battle that could end in just a matter of weeks.
But what Jayla does have is a groom. He's her best friend, Jose Griggs, a fellow patient at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. "He is very cute," Jayla giggled, "And I love him."
9-Year-Old Girl Fulfills Her Final Wish
Nine-year-old Jayla Cooper, who suffers from late-stage leukemia, married her best friend in a celebration of life and friendship. "We didn't expect to do this when she was nine years old, but she has taught us all how to love each other and to be strong," said Lisa Cooper, Jayla's mother.
5-Year-Old Cancer Patient Leaves Hundreds of Notes for Her Grieving Family
When five-year-old Elena Desserich was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, she set out to help her family deal with her death in a truly remarkable way.
Child Bride Escapes Forced Marriage
Nujood Ali, 10, made headlines when she bravely ran away from her husband, a man three times her age. Her dream is to work as an attorney for women's rights in Yemen. "I no longer think about marriage."
Girl Asks Santa to Make the Abuse Stop
When most kids write to Santa, they ask for things like baby dolls, LEGOS or even a shiny new bike. But a nine-year-old girl in Texas had a much more important request. She asked Santa to please stop a male relative from touching her and her older sister.
"Will you take Jose to be your friend, forever and ever?" the pastor asked a tiara-topped Jayla.
"I will," she replied.
"We didn't expect to do this when she was nine years old," said Lisa Cooper, Jayla's mom. "But she has taught us all how to love each other and to be strong." The children aren't legally married, of course. In fact, the ceremony itself celebrated their intent -- to always be friends, no matter what.
"Of course I was shocked to find out that her big request would be a wedding, but it was, so that is what she got," Tina Kirkpatrick, a planner with the catering hall, Paradise Cove, told ParentDish. Jayla organized it all, from the colors, menu (chicken enchiladas), cake and song for the father-daughter dance -- "It's Your Love" by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. "She's already on morphine but I have never seen her look so good. She was shimmering."
As for Jose, "He's brighter, happier and more content with all that they go through in the hospital," said his father, Lawrence Griggs. "She changed that, brought it all out [and] opened up a side of him I hadn't seen."
What the Cooper's are facing in the coming weeks is what every parent hopes they'll never have to endure. But when they look back at the video of Jayla and Jose's special day, let's hope they'll find a little comfort in their daughter's smile, beaming bright on her wedding day.
Photography, catering and all the other services for the wedding were donated. Jayla's father, Jerry Cooper, is on family leave from work. If you would like to make donations to help the family, go to GRACE.
90-Year-Old Saudi Man Marries 15-Year-Old Stirring ControversyA 90-year-old man in Saudi Arabia reportedly wed a 15-year-old girl in exchange for a hefty dowry. After the nuptials, the young girl locked her husband out of their bedroom for two straight days before escaping the residence, fleeing back to her parent's home. The groom is now suing the girl's family.
3 Year-Old Girl Found Wandering Florida HighwayIn one recent case, a 3-year-old girl was seen walking along the busy, U.S. Highway 1 in Fort Pierce, Florida.
A passing motorist stopped after seeing the child, grabbed the girl's hand and called 911. In a similar story, a 2 year old boy was found alone in a park in New Orleans after his mom left him in the park with no plan of returning.
Men Charged In Assault, Kidnapping Of 10-Year-Old GirlProsecutors filed charges Wednesday against two men suspected in the kidnapping and assault of a 10-year-old Northridge girl.
Tobias Summers (L) and Daniel Martinez
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office charged 30-year-old Tobias Dustin Summers, who is still on the run, with kidnapping a minor under 14, first-degree burglary with a person present and nearly three dozen counts of sexual assault.
Prosecutors say that Summers broke into the home and used a knife to abduct the girl.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Spotted Making Out With 25-Year-OldArnold Schwarzenegger has moved on from his wife Maria Shriver, right on to a really young chick. Arnold was spotted all over a 25 year old girl at a party over the weekend. 64 year old Arnold was at a restaurant in West Hollywood Friday night and zeroed in on the girl and started making out with her. A witness tells TMZ that the young girl was kinda pretty, super skinny and hippie like.