A woman paid tribute to her husband’s above-and-beyond efforts by nominating him for an Angel in Disguise award given by a local radio station.
Kristianne Hurlbert submitted a lengthy letter to radio hosts Jodi McShane and Karen Livingston, of Ely, Nevada, radio station KDSS, detailing her eight-year-long battle with a debilitating disease known as “bone death” and highlighting her husband Mark’s dedication to helping her along the way.
“It was an easy choice when we read her letter, it was just so moving,” Livingston said. The Angel in Disguise program was launched as a way to reward community members who touch others’ lives. Mark Hurlbert was the first recipient, receiving a $500 gift card to a local store paid for by sponsors.
“My angel has given me strength that I didn’t know I had. He has carried me through more than 15 surgeries and tons of procedures; carried me through the hardest parts of our lives. He has stayed by my side even when I told him to run. He is loyal, loving and strong. I honestly don’t think I’d be here today now if not for him,” Kristianne wrote of her husband in the letter.
After being diagnosed in 2006, Kristianne was told she’d eventually lose the ability to walk. Though the condition was painful, she worried much more about her husband than herself.
“I was scared he would get tired or have enough of it,” she said. "I was scared he would leave, terrified actually of that. He never gave me any reason to feel this way but when your once healthy body goes to heck on you things go through your mind and that was my biggest worry. That was more scary to me than a hundred hip surgeries.”
Kristianne said she often questioned why her husband stayed by her side the whole time. One particular incident, which landed her in the hospital, was particularly worrying for the ailing wife — but her husband never left her side.
One day, while on a trip to New York with her husband, Kristianne fell in the shower. In that moment, she said, everything became clear.
“Before I passed out, while he was holding me up, I watched my husband begging me not to do this to him again, begging me to stay awake. And I will never forget the look in his eyes. He was so scared, so vulnerable, and at the same time so strong,” she wrote.
“It broke my heart, that look in his eyes. I realized he wasn’t going anywhere, he was my angel and he would never leave me — even if I messed up a no doctors, no hospital weekend.”
Kristianne said she nominated her husband because he’s been her biggest angel in disguise throughout her entire battle. The always-shy Mark, while not very talkative, said he appreciated the honor. Recognition, however, was not his goal. Everything he did was out of love for his wife.
“I remember the very first time I met his three sisters,” Kristianne said of her husband.
“They said to me, ‘Thanks for saving our brother.’ But they were wrong. He saved me.”