Love, Courage, and Chiefs: Shelley & John’s Journey Together

In the heart of Chief’s country, amidst a sea of red and gold, a love story unfolded that would touch the heart of every person it reached. Shelley and John, two souls who found each other later in life, discovered a teenage-like love that blossomed swiftly and deeply. Their love was celebrated daily, from their first Valentine’s Day at Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub to an anniversary that turned into a beautiful proposal.

Their connection is about the simple joys—binge-watching crime shows, cheering on The Kansas City Chiefs, and dreaming of a future together. But fate wrote a challenging chapter for them. John, a fighter with a spirit as fierce as the players he idolizes, is the longest-living LVAD patient. His battle with Congestive Heart Failure brought them to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis in December, where Shelley stood by him, taking the time off work.  She spent 6 weeks sleeping in the hospital recliner, her unwavering love the beacon guiding them through their darkest times.

With the future so unknown, The hospital staff arranged for them to get married there. Amid the beeps and whispers of the hospital, they exchanged vows, a testament to their unyielding bond in the face of uncertainty. After 6 weeks, They were finally able to return home. A “Just Married” sign painted upon their door, greeted them, a bittersweet reminder of the joys and sorrows interwoven in their life together.

It has been in my heart to make sure they were able to get some photos together. Sadly, John was quickly transitioned to hospice end-of-life care shortly after returning to Springfield. I had the honor of capturing their love in the comfort of their home, where Chief’s pride adorns every corner. In a space transformed by necessity, their living room has been replaced with a hospital bed. Shelley is still sleeping in a recliner- not wanting to leave his side. The newlyweds greeted me with smiles when I arrived, both proudly wearing their Patrick Mahomes jerseys. I know that this is not what they imagined for their wedding photos, but I know in my heart they will be cherished just as much. John struggled to be fully with us in the moment, but one thing was clear–their love for one another was still shining through more than ever.

Shelley, ever-present by John’s side, now faces the unimaginable task of saying goodbye far too soon. John’s heart failure continues to progress and they are not sure how much time he has left. Instead of being excited at changing her name and the typical joys of newlywed bliss-Shelley is put in the position of planning her new husband’s funeral. This is where you come in. John and Shelley’s journey is a testament to love’s power and resilience, but they need our support. They face mounting medical and living expenses, and without the safety net of life insurance, the road ahead is daunting. Let’s rally for them, Chiefs Kingdom, and all who believe in love’s triumph. Any contribution to their GoFundMe will ease Shelley’s burden and allow her to cherish the time they have left without the shadow of financial worry. If it moves you, please reach out with a helping hand. Let’s give back to John and Shelley the same joy and strength they’ve shared with us.


Your generosity can turn a story of love into a legacy of compassion. Together, we can ensure that this chapter of their love story, though heartbreaking, is filled with the community’s warmth and support.

Lots of Love,

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    Jessica Yahn is a professional
    wedding photographer located
    in Southwest Missouri.