This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital Films Beautiful Video Inspired By Real-Life Love Story

Now an Edmonton hospital is using a local couple's story to remind staff why they got into health care "in the first place."

"There's a difference between care and caring," reads the closing text of a viral video, inspired by an Edmonton love story.

The video shows two elderly patients admitted to Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital hours apart.

It doesn't take long for staff to realize both patients have the same name — the two were married.

In the video, hospital staff work together through small acts of kindness to make sure the couple spends their last moments together. Calls are made and the couple move into the same room.

Nurses push their beds together, family is given time and space to say goodbye.

"We grew up together, and now we're going to die together," says the husband, taking his wide's hand.

It's a beautiful love story. And it's true, too.

The Molellas

Angela and John Molella met in Italy over seven decades ago, where they fell in love and got married.

But 73 years together — time which brought six children, 18 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren — the couple fell ill within one day of each other, and were admitted to the hospital. Staff recognized the two needed to be together, and made the special arrangements.

“[It was] a very difficult time for the family and we just had the privilege of being part of that journey with them," hospital medical director Curtis Johnston told Global News.

"We grew up together, and now we're going to die together."

The hospital was touched by the couple's story, so staff decided to produce the video, titled "The Difference Between Care & Caring," with actors playing the Molellas, to remind staff the importance of making patients and their families feel truly cared for.

"It's reminder of why we went into health care in the first place,"said Johnston, in an interview with CBC News. "Every health-care professional went into it to make a difference to patients."

Since the video's release in December, it has been viewed thousands of times on both YouTube and Facebook. Some viewers, moved by the story, have shared their own stories of how loved ones were treated in palliative care.

"Watching my parents suffer was bad enough, it would have been devastating if they couldn't have seen each other in their last days," wrote Sylvia Molella-Parker, the couple's daughter, in a Facebook post about the video.

"The staff understood this and went above and beyond to make sure my parents could be in the same room, despite normal hospital protocol.

"What they received in return was witnessing a real life 'Notebook' story."

Also on HuffPost:

Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact