Man Left Paralyzed by Rare Condition Surprises Girlfriend by Standing To Propose

Combined Shape

For most people, it’s getting down on one knee that makes a proposal special. For Jacob Newbern and Mary Batar, it was standing up that made all the difference.

Newbern and Batar have been together for years and have three daughters — a 3-year-old and twin 2-month-olds — but this year they encountered something they weren’t expecting.

Newbern was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Paralyzed by the condition from the waist down, he was told it could be months before he saw any improvement.

Instead of letting the diagnosis get him down, he decided that he was going to walk, and he set a concrete timeline for himself.

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“I looked at Dr. Bond in his eyes and I said, ‘I plan on walking in two months,'” he told Good Morning America. “I was 100 percent dedicated.”

“(He’s doing) phenomenal,” said his doctor, Ronnie Bond. “For him, he was progressing way more than I would expect. With this disease it can take months before there’s any type of recovery.”

Perhaps because of his motivation or the consistent, positive support of his girlfriend, he’s improved quickly and decided that now, more than ever, was the time to take their relationship to the next level.

“I’ve seen my worst and I’ve seen my best and she’s been there with me the whole time. She’s very strong,” said Newbern.

“Any woman that can deal with three kids, two newborns and a 3-year-old…with all the stress that she’s got on her and still being able to come in here with a smile on her face, I just can’t believe that.”

Batar must have known something was up when she opened the door to his Orange Park Medical Center Inpatient Rehabilitation Center room. There was a rose-petal-lined walkway studded with candles, Newbern waiting at the other end.

“We’ve been through hell, especially this last year…” he said as she cried. “And you’ve stuck by my side.”

“I know you love me and I love you, alright? And I think it is time.” Then, Newbern stood up, and Batar lost it all over again.

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“So will you marry me?”

“She was shocked,” Newbern said later in an interview. “It was my very first time standing up completely by myself. I’m surprised she didn’t drop down to the floor. She was so excited.”

Obviously she said yes, but told him he could sit down again. Newbern will continue therapy, but was released from the rehab center the next day, and hopes to continue improving and bringing awareness to this condition.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking