Tagged with: bachelorette party marriage paralyzed spinal cord injury wheelchair
Rachelle Friedman will soon finally get to walk down the aisle. She would have already been married a year ago, but an accident days before the big day left her paralyzed. Now, a year after the accident she will get to marry her then fiancé.
Last year, Rachelle was celebrating with her friends and playing around the pool. The freak accident occurred when one of her bridesmaid shoved her in the shallow end of the pool. Rachelle awkwardly hit the cement bottom; and she knew immediately something was wrong. “I instantly just stopped moving,” Friedman says. She floated to the top, face up. Her friends were already in the water to help. This isn’t a joke, she told them. Call 911.
Rachelle explains the horseplay was no different from the way her friends had goofed around many times. She herself could have just as easily pushed her friend in the water. She refuses to even call the act a prank because that would imply some devious intent. “People look at it like this is something that happened to me, but it happened to both of us,” Rachelle said of her friend. “She was tragically hurt, mentally and emotionally. And I was tragically hurt, physically.”
Presently, Rachelle is looking to the future, with a positive outlook. In just a few days, she will marry the man who has waited with her to exchange vows since the accident. She is wearing the same gown she chose for the first ceremony, but with her father pushing her wheelchair down the aisle instead of walking her down it, arm in arm.
Neither she nor her fiancé, Chris Chapman, ever considered deserting the other. They’d been together for almost five years when the accident happened. The ceremony will take place at – The Fearrington House in Pittsboro. The wedding planning company 1-800-REGISTRY is paying for their ceremony and honeymoon in Fiji.
“I’ll be happy and relieved to see her coming down the aisle,” Chapman says. “It’s something we’ve been working on for quite a while.”
One of the challenges she now faces is finding new ways to keep active. “She was always positive, always upbeat, always ready to do something,” he says. Now, he worries about keeping her active. He’s learning to referee at wheelchair rugby, and she’s trying to get a hand cycle so they can bicycle together. She also wants to learn wheelchair tennis. “We’re hoping to keep her active,” he says. “And I’ll go along and try to participate as much as I can.”