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Helping a Cancer Patient Die in Peace


Donna Rudebusch and Judge Lloyd Zimmerman met this year, seven years after the judge married Rudebusch and dying cancer patient Thomas Robert David. Photo courtesy of the Star Tribune.

Cheers to the Minneapolis Star Tribune for their articles about Judge Lloyd Zimmerman, who at the urging of a social worker married a man who was dying from cancer.

Hospice social worker Cheryl Waldman in 2004 had called 15 other judges to marry Donna Rudebusch, 57, and Thomas Robert David, 77. David’s last wish was to marry Rudebusch, his partner for 38 years.

Zimmerman was having a hectic day in court but Waldman persuaded him to help because David had only hours to live. The judge married Rudebusch and David by telephone. 

Later that evening David died.

“It made him very happy,” Rudebusch said. “He died happy.”

To read Zimmerman’s original account of the 2004 wedding click here. And to read about Zimmerman and Rudebusch’s first meeting this year click here.

Social worker help people suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses get the best possible care. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Cancer Website by clicking here.

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