Paralyzed Bride Marches Through Door And Walks Down Aisle, Moving Wedding Guests To Tears
Dec 07, 2022 by apost team
Few will forget this couple's wedding day. There are often special moments that are immortalized into precious memories, and some of them are the least unexpected. This is one of those memorable and unexpected moments.
For the guests and family at Jennifer Darmon and Mike Belawetz's wedding back in April of 2011, the most magnificent moment happened when the bride made her grand debut.
Darmon almost lost her life after a car accident left her trapped in a van in 2008.
According to ABC News, the accident took place when Darmon and Belawetz were on a road trip. An oncoming vehicle struck the couple's van in a head-on collision. Although Belawetz and his friends were relatively uninjured, Darmon couldn't move. Belawetz, a trained paramedic, was able to safely get his partner out of the car, but he could tell that she might be paralyzed once he checked on her spine.
"I couldn't feel my legs," Darmon told ABC News in 2011. "I went into hysterics. I was screaming and crying and not really knowing what was going on."
Paramedics rushed her to the hospital and were able to save her life, but she was told by doctors that she may never be able to walk again after a spinal cord injury. Paralyzed from the waist down, Darmon was devastated and told her then-boyfriend, Belawetz, that he could leave if things got too tough. He never faltered. In an attempt to regain the use of her legs, Darmon underwent multiple surgeries and hours of grueling physical therapy.
Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video.
She was determined to walk down the aisle on her wedding day no matter what, even donning a borrowed wedding dress to wear during her sessions to stay motivated. Belawetz was always there to offer support and encouragement, and he didn't plan to leave his bride-to-be's side no matter what happened.
Whether she was in a wheelchair the rest of her life or could run 10 miles, Belawetz loved Darmon for who she was and was committed to spending his life with her. On the day the couple was to wed, everyone was in awe when the doors to the church opened, and Darmon emerged, dressed in white and standing on her own two feet.
To the fitting song "Walk With You" by Edwin McCain, Darmon's dream became a reality. With leg braces under her dress and the support of her father and brother on each arm, she slowly made her way down the aisle to meet her husband.
There likely wasn't a dry eye left in the chapel as the couple exchanged their vows, and the celebration of their love turned into an even greater celebration of Darmon's determination and achievement. The couple was able to share their first dance as husband and wife, as Darmon had always intended.
But the journey from Darmon and Belawetz’s accident in 2008 to their wedding in 2011 wasn’t easy.
"You know, picturing your wedding, you don't picture rolling down the aisle," Darmon told reporters when ABC chose her as "World News" Person of the Week.
Darmon continued, "You picture the walk with your dad. It's the most important thing. I will be walking down the aisle. It's not an if or a maybe. It's absolutely going to happen."
Following the accident, Darmon offered Belawetz a tragic and difficult choice. Darmon let him know that if he wanted to, he could break up with her, and she would understand.
"I told him a few times, 'You don't have to stay if this is something you don't think you want in your life for the rest of your life,'" Darmon said in her interview with ABC News. "I figured that I would spare him."
At the time, Darmon had to drive 45 minutes to the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan in Detroit from her home in Windsor, Canada, using a modified car that included a hand-crank accelerator.
But Darmon and Belawetz, as we’ve said, were determined. Throughout numerous surgeries and multi-weekly physical therapy sessions, Belawetz has stayed by Darmon’s side since they met at a bank, Darmon’s workplace, in 2006.
"Obviously she's a very, very pretty girl, which was the main attraction," Belawetz said, which is what kept him "going to the bank." The young paramedic would go to the bank three times a week, according to ABC News.
As we know, this love story — though it had its moments of tragedy — ended in marriage. Four years after they met at the bank, Belawetz proposed on the couple’s anniversary in 2010.
"The accident made me realize that if there is something you want to do, do it while you can," he told ABC News. "If you have people close to you, let them know."
With such a heartwarming story, it’s no wonder that Belawetz and Darmon’s story has captivated viewers around the world. The below video, which features the couple’s story, has accumulated over 3.5 million views since it was uploaded in 2011.
Although we can’t be sure of Darmon’s injury, science has progressed far in the years since the couple’s accident. In fact, Science Daily published the findings of a study out of Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany that found that gene therapy can help paralyzed mice walk again.
“To date, paralysis resulting from spinal cord damage has been irreparable,” the report read. “With a new therapeutic approach, scientists have succeeded for the first time in getting paralyzed mice to walk again. The keys to this are the protein hyper-interleukin-6, which stimulates nerve cells to regenerate, and the way it is supplied to the animals.”
With these promising results, the Ruhr-University team is now researching whether they can apply this therapy to humans, which might allow paralyzed individuals like Darmon to walk again. On top of physical therapy, this discovery could be a massive breakthrough for disabled individuals.
While there haven’t been any public updates regarding Darmon’s progress since their wedding in 2011, Belawetz's name does pop up in a Southwest Ontario Regional Base Hospital program report from 2014. Belawetz, along with colleagues Chris Nugent, Isidor Cusumano, Bill Lepain, Mike and Mike Jacobs — won an award for paramedics who assist with the birth of a child outside of the hospital. But given his heartwarming and inspiring love story, we shouldn’t be surprised.
No matter how bleak the odds are, we believe that recovery is always possible. Let us know your thoughts on this story, and be sure to pass it along to your loved ones.