Hospital proposal receives standing ovation from family and Mayo Clinic staff

Natalie Bohm and Jake Bieze

Jake Bieze’s girlfriend walked beside him as he made the decision to donate a kidney to his father. Before leaving Mayo Clinic after the surgery, Jake asked her to take another walk with him — this one down the aisle.

Jake Bieze had just one more thing to do before he left Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester: Ask Natalie Bohm to marry him. 

"I wanted to put the spotlight on her," Jake says. "She has sacrificed so much for this."

"This" referred to his kidney donation. In December, Jake donated one of his kidneys to his dad, Warren Bieze.

"Natalie was there from the beginning of this process," Jake says. She was there when his dad asked him to consider donation. She was the person Jake talked to as he weighed his decision, and she was the one to research the procedure. And once Jake decided to donate, Natalie was by his side through the preoperative testing process and surgery.

Natalie even kept track of Jake's backpack — which happened to contain a sparkling diamond ring — while he was in the operating room.

"I had the ring in the pocket of a hoodie, rolled up," Jake says. "She had no idea."

Warren and Jake Bieze
Warren and Jake Bieze.

Before Jake popped the question to Natalie, he popped a question to one of his nurses, Meagan Davis. Would she help him practice getting down on one knee, Jake wondered? Davis' answer was an enthusiastic "Yes!"

"It was so exciting," Davis says. "Something like that doesn't happen very often."

The day after surgery, when Natalie left Jake's room in search of coffee, Davis stood by Jake's side to make sure he could safely get down on one knee and get back up again.

"I was worried I wouldn't be able to get down on my knee, or that I might fall," Jake says.

Practice made perfect, and by the time Natalie returned from her coffee run, Jake was ready. After signing his discharge papers, he sent Natalie out of the room to ask his brother to help carry his bags out of the hospital. When Natalie came back, Jake was down on one knee, an open ring box in his hand.

After Natalie said "Yes," Jake's dad, stepmother and brother erupted in applause. As did the Mayo Clinic staff who'd gathered to watch.

"It was a really great thing for staff to see it," Davis says. "Especially with how tough things have been lately. This was a real bright spot for all of us. It's one more good thing I'll be able to remember for the rest of my career."

For Jake, it's one more good thing he'll remember about his time at Mayo Clinic.

"Mayo Clinic is something else," he says. "In most hospitals, it's dreary. But at Mayo, everyone is happy. Everyone has hope."