Which is what makes this story all the more profound. A young woman confined to a wheelchair for most of her adult life, is able to put aside her aids and make the journey on her own two feet.
Twenty five year old Jaquie Goncher has been paralyzed from the neck down since she was seventeen. But at her wedding, she gave her guests the most amazing surprise: she stepped out of her wheelchair and into her groom’s arms under her own power.
Goncher suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury in a swimming accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down, when she was seventeen. Doctors told her and her family that the prognosis was not good and that she would probably never walk again.
Jaquie fought back against the odds, and just six months later, was able to stand. While celebrating this milestone, she still relied on her wheelchair for the mobility for the next eight years.
As a youth, Jaquie had been an athlete, and being confined to a wheelchair was hard for her emotionally. One of the hardest parts for her was not being able to engage in the physical activity of her prior life.Speaking with Cosmopolitan Magazine she says “I would go to the gym and get so frustrated that I wouldn’t go back, I was trying to make myself do it but I kept failing at it and then I would be disgusted with myself.”
However, she persevered, and a little more than a year ago committed herself to a single goal: to stand and walk at her own wedding. As these pictures illustrate, not only did she beat that goal, she surpassed it in true champion fashion. She was even able to dance with her husband at the reception.
While a select few people were in on the surprise, notably her husband, Andy, and her mother, most of the attendees had fully expected to see her come down the aisle in her wheelchair. Most of her friends and associates know that she had trouble standing for more than a few minutes and suffered from circulatory issues due to her injury.
So, when she stood up out of the chair and with the help of her mother and grandfather, walked down the aisle, the attendees were utterly overcome with joy.
And it continued, as she remained standing for the entire forty five minute ceremony, and then for most of the four hour reception, albeit with a little help from her husband. “He was my cane, because I would hold on to him the entire time,” she says of Andy during the reception.
When the took the dance floor for their ceremonial first dance, Jaquie’s mother captured the moment on camera, and later commissioned an artist to commemorate in a painting.