Paralyzed Woman Overcame the Odds and Taught Herself to Walk Again for Her Wedding
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
After an unfortunate swimming accident in 2008, Jaquie Goncher was left paralyzed from the neck down. However, Goncher wasn’t going to let that stop her from walking down the aisle on her wedding day.
“I went to a friend’s house after work and dove into her pool. I broke my neck and it instantly paralyzed me from the neck down,” Goncher explained to BuzzFeed. “I sustained a spinal cord injury from my C5 vertebrae being completely shattered. I also fractured C1 and C2. After my surgery, the surgeon told my mother and I that I would never walk again.”
However, Goncher surprised her doctors when she moved her right big toe one month after her surgery. That’s when Goncher got the idea that she wanted to stand and walk at her wedding.
Goncher started physical therapy and worked out as much as she could in the gym to build up strength for the big day.
“I was an athlete in high school so working out again and not being able to do the workouts I used to was very emotionally hard for me,” she shared. “I walked on the treadmill at the slowest pace holding onto the sides and focused on not passing out. I would pull myself with my legs in my wheelchair around the gym.”
Goncher also managed to do planks, lift weights, and use most of the leg machines in the gym as she progressed through therapy.
Thankfully, all of her hard work paid off and Goncher was able to stand for the entire four-and-a-half-hour wedding.
“I was completely shocked that I was standing that long,” she said. “I think I was just too happy to notice if it was difficult or not. All I can remember is having the time of my life!”
Goncher’s husband Andy knew she would have the strength to stand and walk throughout the wedding, but it was a complete and total shock to their guests.
“There were tears everywhere,” she shared.
Goncher was also able to pull off a first dance, sharing the special moment and dancing to Ingrid Michaelson’s song, “The Way I Am.”
“Walking down the aisle felt like a dream. I felt accomplished and just so grateful and thankful. I honestly didn’t see Andy because I was too nervous and excited so I stared at the ground almost the entire time. Whoops.”
She continued, “I wanted to enjoy my wedding without the wheelchair. Walking down the aisle was awesome but actually standing and dancing for my entire wedding is what really mattered to me.”