'A man is more concerned about getting you and your dog out of a burning building, and he leaves his phone and his wallet. You marry that man,' Katy Sullivan shared.
Watching your home burn down can be profoundly traumatizing. It took firefighters about five hours to put out the flames after an Illinois couple’s apartment caught on fire likely due to a lightning strike.
Katy Sullivan, a bilateral above-knee amputee, had planned to surprise her partner Scott Aiello with a surprise wedding over the weekend. But the Friday before the dinner party, they were forced to evacuate their home after a fire broke out at their apartment complex. “I told him that I had planned a surprise wedding. We talked about it and he just was like, ‘Let’s do it anyway,’” she told Inside Edition. The couple had met over six years ago and got engaged in the fall of 2022.
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“My great, grand plan with Martyna, who wrote 'Cost of Living,' was we were having a dinner party at our apartment on a Sunday evening, and she was like, ‘Why don't I marry you? I'll get ordained and we'll surprise [everyone.] We'll just convince [Scott] we're doing a fancy dinner party and just turn it into a wedding.’ And I was like, this is a crazy idea. Let's do it,” Sullivan shared. After the fire, Sullivan was even more sure about the man she was planning to spend the rest of her life with.
"We walked out of that apartment with our laptops. I had my prosthetic legs, my purse and our dog. He left his wallet and his cellphone in the apartment. I was saying to somebody the next day: a man is more concerned about getting you and your dog out of a burning building, and he leaves his phone and his wallet. You marry that man,” she said, beaming. Two days later they decided to have the impromptu wedding at Aiello’s mother’s house, which had special meaning as it was the same home where he grew up. “I thought it was such a great idea and it meant so much to me,” he said.
It was an intimate ceremony with just a few loved ones in attendance while others attended through Zoom. The couple danced to Broadway’s Bobby Conte singing Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight” and partied on the porch until 2 a.m. “It was lovely,” Aiello confessed. “At one point, I leaped over to Katy and said ‘My mother's in the basement and the Shih-Tzus are fighting. Baby, it couldn't be any more perfect.’ Every day since then, it's been hard, but that was lovely.”
“I think when you're faced with something so devastating... it just felt like we were deciding to choose joy and deciding to move forward with a commitment to each other. We've been together so long and we've been together through so much that it just felt like the right thing to do in the face of this horrible [fire],” added Sullivan.
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According to PEOPLE, Sullivan—who was born without both of her lower legs—is a four-time U.S. champion in the Paralympics. She’s also the first woman amputee to star in a Broadway show and the first amputee to ever be nominated for a Tony Award. "More than anything, it feels like a responsibility in some ways to people to be able to point to and say, 'Oh, this is possible,'" she shared. "This is something that can be done."
A GoFundMe has been set up by a friend to help them recover after the devastating fire.