Doors Open, Groom Watches Bride Paralyzed from Head-On Collision Walk Down Aisle


I remember so little of my own wedding. I remember standing at the front of the church and I remember the doors opening and my now-wife walking down the aisle to me. After that it is all a blur.

I remember at one point there were rings, and some music. And then we both walked out of the church together.

But other than that it is really all just a fuzzy memory. I have the feeling that Jennifer Darmon and her new husband Mike Belawetz won’t have that same problem.

Darmon was trapped in a crashed van some three years before she got married in 2011.

After being rushed to the hospital, she learned the hard truth: she had a spinal cord injury that would leave her unable to walk.

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Jennifer, a bank teller, was lucky that Mike was there the day their van was hit. As a trained paramedic, he was able to move her from the van safely.

“I couldn’t feel my legs. I went into hysterics. I was screaming and crying and not really knowing what was going on.” Darmon told a reporter from ABC news.

Darmon quickly came to terms with the news — as well as her own determination to not let it hinder her. She would, she decided, walk during her wedding.

“You know, picturing your wedding, you don’t picture rolling down the aisle, 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,” Darmon said.

She endured many surgeries and drove 45 minutes a day, three days a week, from Windsor, Canada, to Detroit, Michigan, for physical therapy.

Like many in similar situations she was unsure what her future might hold, no matter how much work she put in.

And the results were stunning. On her wedding day, aided by her brother and father as well as leg braces, she walked down the aisle to her husband. Later they even danced at her wedding.

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It would be easy to hear her story and think: with determination, moxie, and positive thinking, all hurdles are minor bumps in the road. Disabled people of all sorts hear this sort of thing all the time.

I think the lesson we can take here is of a different sort: that no matter our realities and setbacks, we can find whatever hope we can.

Like Darmon, we can have a goal and work hard for it even if how we get it — or the new things we find on the way — isn’t quite what we envisioned initially.

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