Rachelle Friedman was about to get married when a playful prank went tragically wrong. (via Associated Press)
Last year, during her May 23 bachelorette party in Virginia Beach, Va., Friedman and her girlfriends were about to take a nighttime dip. One of her bridesmaids—who is her best friend—playfully pushed the bride-to-be into the swimming pool.
After Friedman’s head hit the bottom of the shallow side of the pool, she immediately felt stiff and couldn’t move. She could see her legs, but could not feel the water on them. As she floated face-up, her friends were already trying to pull her out. She told them: Call 911. Doctors at a nearby hospital soon confirmed the horrible news: She had suffered a C6 spinal cord injury and would be unable to walk or feel sensation below her collarbone.
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One year later, Friedman, 25, is thinner and wheelchair-bound, but finally ready to reach the altar. She will marry college sweetheart Chris Chapman, the man who has stood by her side for more than five years, and even more so since the accident dramatically transformed their lives.
The wedding planning company 1-800-REGISTRY is paying for the couple’s North Carolina nuptials and honeymoon in Fiji. The bride’s father will push her wheelchair down the aisle.
Though Friedman’s story was covered internationally, she never revealed the identity of the friend who pushed her into the pool. “It was playful, but it went wrong,” Friedman told ABC last year. “It was a freak accident.”
After the wedding, Friedman, who is a Beatles fan, plans to get a peace sign tattoo and the phrase “Let It Be” inked to the back of her neck where the injury occurred.
“It symbolizes that I’m at peace with it,” she says.