After a car accident damaged her spinal cord, Jennifer Darmon found herself having to use a wheelchair to get around. But after Darmon’s boyfriend proposed, she made a big decision about her future. Then, with months of hard work under her belt, she was ready to show everyone just how far she’d come.
Jennifer Darmon is a Canadian woman with quite the touching story. Back in 2006 she was working as a bank teller – and she had an admirer to boot. His name was Mike Belawetz, and he was a paramedic with a crush on Darmon; as a result, Belawetz kept going into the bank to see the object of his affections.
What’s more, Belawetz and Darmon began dating and subsequently fell in love. In 2008, however, something horrible happened that changed both of their lives forever. Darmon was in a van with a group of friends traveling to the beach when a car careered into them.
And Darmon was left trapped in the smashed-up van; fortunately, though, her friends and Belawetz managed to pull her out. Paramedics then arrived, although Darmon doesn’t remember a huge amount from the incident, and she was swiftly airlifted and taken to hospital.
Furthermore, the first week of Darmon’s recovery was spent in the intensive care unit, and it was then that she received some bad news. Doctors told her that the damage to the nerves in her spinal cord was possibly the most severe that they’d ever seen. That was when Darmon came to understand that she’d be in a wheelchair for the remainder of her days.
And, naturally, that realization was an absolutely devastating one for Darmon. What came next for her was a series of operations and physical therapy – a daunting prospect for anyone. But Belawetz stuck by her, regularly making a three-hour drive to be by her side during rehab sessions.
Nonetheless, Darmon told her man that he didn’t have to stand by her. “I told him a few times, ‘You don’t have to stay if this is something you don’t think you want in your life for the rest of your life,’” she said in an April 2018 interview with ABC News. But Belawetz wasn’t having any of it.
Instead, Belawetz decided that he wanted to be there for Darmon. Not only that, but the situation also shifted something within him. “The accident made me realize that if there is something you want to do, do it while you can,” he said. “If you have people close to you, let them know.”
And that’s why Belawetz decided to propose to Darmon. He got down on one knee in June 2010, four years after they had first become an item, and Darmon accepted. And faced with the prospect of saying her vows in front of family and friends in just under a year’s time, Darmon made a new target for herself.
The wedding date was set for April 16, 2011, and Darmon decided that there was something important that she wanted to do before the special day came around. Yes, she made it her mission to learn to walk again; that way, she could make her own trip down the aisle on her big day.
“You know, picturing your wedding, you don’t picture rolling down the aisle,” Darmon said to ABC World News Tonight in the build-up to the big day. “You picture the walk with your dad. It’s the most important thing.” Then she made a bold statement.
“It’s not an if or a maybe. It’s absolutely going to happen,” Darmon vowed. And so she focused on her therapy in order to rebuild her muscle strength. The bride-to-be even borrowed a wedding dress so that she could get used to trying to walk in the long gown.
Then the wedding day finally came around. The room was filled with family and friends, all eagerly awaiting Darmon’s arrival. And what happened next left the invited guests in awe. At first, the double doors at the end of the room opened slowly to reveal the bride.
Darmon, in her beautiful white wedding gown, was standing at the entrance with her father on one arm and her brother on the other. Then she took her first step towards her husband-to-be, who was waiting for her at the front of the room.
A video capturing the special moment was subsequently uploaded to YouTube. It shows Darmon making her way to her fiancé with a fitting song playing in the background. Edwin McCain’s “Walk With You” accompanied Darmon’s emotional journey down the aisle – a trip that was the culmination of years of hard work since the accident.
With leg braces hidden beneath her wedding gown, Darmon eventually completed her walk and tied the knot with Belawetz, who scooped her up into his arms after they said “I do.” To top it off, Darmon impressed everyone yet again when she shared a dance with her new husband at the reception.
And no one was more touched than Darmon’s husband. “I’m proud of my wife,” he told WXYZ after the wedding was over. Of course, Darmon herself was also delighted that she’d been able to show her family and friends just how far she’d come since the devastating crash.
“It’s so nice for everyone to see the end result… All the work I’ve put into it over the last couple of years,” Darmon told WXYZ. Then, once the footage of her walking down the aisle hit YouTube, it went viral, racking up nearly 350,000 views.
Darmon’s story also seemed to have struck a chord with members of the public, many of whom commented underneath the video. “The two of you made this 76-year-old man cry with joy for the both of you! Wonderful love story,” wrote a viewer who was particularly touched by Darmon’s efforts.
And although what happened to Darmon was utterly devastating, another YouTube user wrote a poignant comment that put the incident into perspective. “Just saw your story on the news,” it read. “You truly have everything that you need. Each other.”