Rachelle Friedman Hears Wedding Bells and Then They Go Silent

Rachelle immediately knew she'd never walk again.

Rachelle immediately knew she’d never walk again.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes when people are having their greatest successes or are about to experience happiness seems to be when tragedy occurs. However, the individuals who persevere, who endure and who decide that they won’t let their accidents or disabilities overcome them will prevail. One of the biggest concerns when tragedy strikes often is, “Will my love one still loved me?” This week we will find out what one young lady, Rachelle Friedman Chapman from Knightdale, North Carolina, discovered about true love. Part 3 of  5 part series. 

With the wedding only 4 weeks away, Rachelle’s friends decided to give her a bachelorette party. Both sides of the family were excited about these two young people getting married. The bridesmaids and maids of honor hosted the bachelorette party. The evening started with a cookout followed by dancing, and ended with swimming at one of bridesmaids house. Rachelle explains, “When we came back to my friend’s house that had a pool. I was standing on the side of the pool but decided not to go in, because the water was really cold. In a playful gesture, one of my friends pushed me in. As I was falling, I tried to dive into the water, and I hit my head on the bottom of the pool. I didn’t black out. I just went numb. As soon as I hit the bottom, my body completely quit moving. I started floating to the top of the water, and my friends who also were lifeguards, jumped in to try to help me. We all knew not to pull anyone out of the water with a head, neck or back injury; however, I kept begging them to get me out of the water. I was cold, and I was scared. I was on my back, so they pulled me out of the water. I lay on the deck of the pool, with my legs still in the water on the steps. I thought how strange it was that one second I could feel my legs and the next I could see my legs dangling in the water and had no feeling in them. Immediately, I knew I had a permanent paralysis. I said to myself, ‘You’re not ever going to walk again.’ My mind was racing a mile a minute. I was concerned about my friend who had pushed me into the water. I knew she was scared, and I knew my other friends were scared.”

At the hospital, Rachelle told jokes to make everyone else cheer up.

At the hospital, Rachelle told jokes to make everyone else cheer up.

The paramedics arrived within 5 minutes. Rachelle was placed on a back board, her neck was stabilized, and she was loaded into an ambulance. When she got to the hospital, she went in for a CT scan and saw her uncle, who was in charge of CT scans that night at the hospital. After that, the doctor came in and did a feel test to try and determine what Rachelle could feel. After the CT scan was read and the feel test was over, the doctor told her, “Your paralysis is permanent. You only have about a 5% chance of ever walking again. You are a C6 quadriplegic. “When I was in college, I took a class on adaptive sports and volunteered at an adaptive sports camp, so I knew what people in wheelchairs could do and it enabled me to be a little bit stronger than those who knew little or nothing about life after a spinal cord injury.”

“My parents were in the room when I got the diagnosis, and I felt so sad for them when they heard that news,” Rachelle says. “My heart was broken seeing my parents so sad. All I could think about was what could I do to make everyone laugh. I didn’t want anyone to be sad or scared, so I smiled and told them, “At least at ECU, I’ll be able to get good parking spaces for football games.”

To learn more about Rachelle Friedman Chapman, go to www.rachellefriedman.com and www.facebook.com/rachelleandchris.

Next: Rachelle Friedman Hears the Paralysis Is Permanent


About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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