5-year-old who underwent 3 open heart surgeries gets dream wedding photo shoot

Posted: Updated:
(ABC) -

One 5-year-old girl had one wish before her fourth open heart surgery -- get married to her best friend.

Sophia Chiappalone's mother, Kristy Somerset-Chiappalone, told ABC News she'd do anything to give another smile to her daughter, who was born with several heart defects.

Chiappalone, who has already undergone three open heart surgeries during her short lifetime, spent much of her early life in Hartford Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. She's now being treated at Boston Children's Hospital, where she is scheduled to undergo her fourth open heart surgery in January.

Photos courtesy Sassy Mouth Photo/www.sassymouth.net

PHOTO: Sophia Chiappalone, 5, during her faux wedding photo shoot on Oct. 23, 2017 inside City Park in Meriden, Conn.

"It became apparent that her heart wasn't looking as well as they would like and we knew she needed treatment," Somerset-Chiappalone recalled. "So I asked Sophia, 'What do you want to do? Do you want to go to an indoor water park? Do you want to go on a shopping spree, maybe get some toys?'

"And she said she wanted to be a princess and marry Hunter," the Meriden, Connecticut, mother of three recalled.

When Somerset-Chiappalone, 36, told Tracy Laferriere, the mother of her daughter's bestie, Hunter, what her daughter wanted, the family was on board.

"Immediately I started crying," Laferriere, 34, told ABC News. "If it's in my power to give that to her how could I not?"

PHOTO: Hunter Laferriere, 6, with his best friend Sophia Chiappalone, 5, during their faux wedding photo shoot on Oct. 23, 2017 inside City Park in Meriden, Conn.

Laferriere's best friend is photographer, Marisa Balletti-Lavoie, and offered to give Chiappalone a mock wedding photo shoot. She even got Bliss Bridal in Chester, Connecticut, to supply a veil and a little wedding dress -- well, really it was a flower girl's dress -- for Chiappalone.

The two best friends, who met in preschool, spent an hour on Oct. 23 inside City Park in Meriden, capturing the fall-inspired wedding images.

"Just seeing Sophia's smile, he didn't complain once," Hunter's mother said of the photo shoot. "He was genuinely having a fun time. They were laughing together, tickling, swinging and on the slides. I think he really enjoyed it. I think it makes him happy to see her happy."

PHOTO: Hunter Laferriere, 6, and Sophia Chiappalone, 5, during their faux wedding photo shoot on Oct. 23, 2017 inside City Park in Meriden, Conn.

Although it seemed that Sophia "felt like a princess" and "radiated the whole time," Somerset-Chiappalone said for her there were mixed emotions.

"I was trying so hard to be strong," she admitted. "I'm trying to be strong for Sophia. In reality, she's slipping into heart failure more and more, and this might be the only time I ever see her in a wedding dress. That was going through my head."

Still, the mom has her own wish for her daughter: "I wish that she keeps her fighting spirit. And I hope she never loses her quality of life ... no matter what the end result is."

  • Most Popular Stories

    • Closings & Delays

      The latest list of school and weather-related closings and delays.

    • Stepmother of missing Wichita boy arrested for child endangerment

      The stepmother of a missing 5-year-old Wichita boy has been booked into the Sedgwick County Jail. 

    • Missing boy's father believes son is still alive

      Wichita Police have arrested 26-year-old Emily Glass. Glass is the last person to see her five-year-old stepson, Lucas Hernandez, before he went missing.

    • Court document released in Wichita YMCA child rape case

      Caleb Gaston, 21, is charged with two counts of rape and remains held on $1 million bond.

    • More winter weather hitting Wichita

      Sleet and freezing rain are all the makings for disastrous driving conditions.  “The weather, you know, it’s Kansas,” Wichita resident, Jerry Caddell said. 

    • Kansas woman charged after children allegedly given meds

      Johnson County authorities charged 37-year-old Therese Roever Wednesday. Her bond was set at $1 million.

    • Another round of ice for KAKEland

      On the heels of Tuesday’s wintry weather, another system takes aim at KAKEland late Wednesday into Thursday and roads could once again turn slippery.

    • Florida student mistaken for gunman: 'I knew any move I made would be the end of my life'

       Moments after the gunfire subsided and he thought he was safe, Lorenzo Prado said he was confronted by six officers pointing guns in his face.

    • The page you requested is currently unavailable. Pages on this site are constantly being revised, updated, and occasionally removed. You may have followed an outdated link or have outdated pages in your

    • Kansas soldier dies in Iraq

      The Department of Defense said Sgt. Christina Marie Schoenecker was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Baghdad.