Woman to Marry Year After Being Paralyzed at Bachelorette Party
Rachelle Friedman to marry a year after being paralyzed at bachelorette party.
July 18, 2011 — -- Rachelle Friedman is finally getting her day in white.
The paralyzed bride-to-be who was left wheelchair bound last year after a freak accident at her bachelorette party will be married this weekend to her fiance Chris Chapman in North Carolina.
"It was my dream and it is my dream to marry Chris," Friedman, 25, told ABC News today. "This is the one thing I wasn't able to have for so long and now I can have it."
"It's a huge deal. It was so close and then it just fell out of my grasp," said Friedman.
In August 2010, Friedman was left unable to walk and unable to feel sensation beneath her collarbone after she was pushed into a pool by one of her bridesmaids, a joke the group of girls frequently played on one another.
"It was playful, but it went wrong," Friedman said in the months following the incident. "It was a freak accident."
Friedman had been out celebrating her pending nuptials with her bridesmaids when they decided to go for a swim at the end of the night.
"We got home, ran upstairs and changed into our bathing suits," said Friedman. "My best friend -- and she still is my best friend -- she playfully pushed me in like we've done a million times."
Rachelle Friedman to Be Married One Year After Being Paralyzed at Bachelorette Party
She hit her head on the bottom of the pool and doctors later confirmed that she had suffered a C6 spinal cord injury.
Friedman, who never revealed the identity of the bridesmaid responsible for her injury, said that the young woman will be in her wedding this Friday.
"A lot of people think, 'poor Rachelle,' or 'This happened to Rachelle,'" said Friedman. "Yes it sucks, but this also happened to her and in some ways I don't know what I would do if I were her."
"It's a situation where she was hurt emotionally and mentally and I was hurt physically, but I really think I would at least have a harder time emotionally," she said. "It's really, really hard to heal emotionally, even maybe than to learn to live in my physical situation."
Friedman told ABC News following the accident that she had often worried that something would happen to her that would tarnish her "perfect life."
"I was always kind of scared something was going to mess up my perfect world," she said. "It was literally perfect, but it completely changed and that can happen to anyone."
"But I've learned that even if things do change you can still make your world perfect," she said. "It's just extremely different. We do everything differently now."
Friedman says that since her story went international, she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from perfect strangers. Her wedding, which she says wasn't exactly a priority while facing mounting medical bills, is being paid for by 1-800 Registry, as is her honeymoon to Fiji.
And rehab therapy -- coveted treatment that is too expensive at the moment for Friedman -- is being donated to the bride by Project Walk in California, a center she says is "known for getting people out of wheelchairs."
"I'm completely flabbergasted and excited," said Friedman of the support. "I knew it would all happen, but not like this."
"As soon as we heard Rachelle's story, we knew we wanted to help give her the wedding of her dreams," said Donne Kerestic, the CEO of 1-800-Registry. "She inspired us with her indomitable spirit and her joyful approach to life, despite her challenges. It is absolutely our privilege to know her, to plan with her and to help her wedding vision become a reality."