A British veteran stunned her groom at their wedding over the summer by walking down the aisle — after 7 years in a wheelchair.
Emma Kitson, 35, wanted her wedding day to be special. Having found the man she will spend the rest of her life with, the bride got busy planning the perfect day of celebration, down to one important detail: the walk down the aisle.
“I wanted to avoid being in my wheelchair for as much of the day as possible,” she told the U.K.’s Southwest News Service, according to Fox News.
“I wanted to show my dress off as much as I could on my special day.”
Kitson has been in a wheelchair for 7 years, Fox reported, following a spinal surgery that left her with severe pain and made it difficult for her to use her legs.
A former soldier, she suffered extreme back pain thanks to her years in the military as a member of the Royal Artillery.
Kitson, who was deployed to Iraq in the early 2000s, said she often carried materials as heavy as 100-pound shells for AS90 bullet tanks. The heavy lifting weighed on her in more ways than one.
Kitson said she had wanted to “keep up with the lads,” but soon began suffering excruciating back pain.
Ultimately, she left military service as a result, and eventually had to use a wheelchair to get around.
After complications from her spinal procedure left Kitson with continued pain and a lack of feeling in one of her legs, her hopes of healing had disappeared.
“I wasn’t prepared for what would happen,” she told SWNS. “But I get on with my life and I enjoy it.”
The veteran has lived with the disability ever since.
However, as her August wedding day neared, she decided to take on a new challenge.
Determined to surprise her then-fiancé, Christopher, Kitson began working to develop the muscles in her legs, training for hours upon hours so she could walk down the aisle.
“If I’m in a wheelchair for the rest of my life I do not care because I can say I’ve walked to Christopher and then I’ve walked with him out of the church,” she said.
And when the big day finally arrived, Kitson was ready.
In a heartwarming moment of victory and determination, she shocked her proud groom by walking to meet him at the altar, dressed to the nines in a white gown.
“People take walking for granted all the time and I’m so proud ended my single life walking and that I started my married life walking,” Kitson told The Western Journal.
The emotional moment she was waiting for had finally arrived, and the new couple walked out of the church together, arm in arm.
“I felt like I achieved what every woman dreams of,” Kitson told The Western Journal.
“We had such a magical day,” she added.
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