Jaquie Goncher grew up a healthy, athletic young woman, just like any other. Then, one day in 2008 when she was 17 years old, Jaqui dove into her friend’s swimming pool and broke her neck. Jaqui was immediately paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors said she would never walk again.
Fast forward 8 years to 2016, and Jaqui is a gorgeous 25 year old woman, ready to marry a man named Andy, the love of her life. But Jaqui and Andy have a big surprise for all their wedding guests. Jaqui has secretly been working hard– spending hours in the gym and in physical therapy– building up the strength to stand from her wheelchair and walk down the aisle.
Jaqui had defied the doctors’ expectations years earlier. Only 6 months after breaking her neck, Jaqui was miraculously able to stand. But the spinal chord damage was severe, and for the next several years she remained mostly in her wheelchair, only standing for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time. But Jaqui was determined to stand on her wedding day… and stay standing. She made it her goal, spending 2 to 3 hours at the gym, 6 days a week for the year prior to her wedding.
A select few, including her groom, knew about Jaqui’s goal. The rest of the guests were in complete shock when Jaqui stood from her chair, walked down the aisle, and remained standing for her entire ceremony… She even danced at the reception, too!
It was not only Jaqui and Andy’s first dance as a married couple, it was their first dance ever.
Photographer Alec of Love Stories By Halie and Alec had this to say about the couple:
Jaquie and Andy are literally a dream couple. Both extremely intelligent, talented, creative and loving people that make our job worth while, not to mention the fact that they have a very deep bond and loving relationship that makes it easy to capture the emotions that they have for one another. The way that they selflessly serve and love one another challenges me to this day, and I’m such a fortunate human to be able to call them friends.
Jaqui told Huffington Post that she “didn’t want to waste the miracle that God had given” her by “just accepting the comfort” of her wheelchair. She said, “I wanted our wedding photos to symbolically show the long journey I’ve been through.”
She also had this to say about her now-husband, “He has believed in me and my goals, but through it all I always knew, no matter what the outcome, he would be by my side. He just loved me for who I was from the very beginning. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
Congratulations to this beautiful, strong couple.
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