A bachelorette party turned tragic after a swimming pool accident in 2010 left the bride a quadriplegic. Afterward, people said she “couldn’t be a good mom,” but, amazingly, she helped her new, smiling baby girl learn to walk!
Rachelle Chapman, of Knightdale, North Carolina, became known as the “paralyzed bride” after a childhood friend playfully pushed her into the pool at her bachelorette party on May 23, 2010.
Tragically, Rachelle hit her head on the bottom, and she was committed to a life in a wheelchair afterward.
“I didn’t blame her for hurting me, because we’ve all pushed somebody in a pool, and I was very supportive of her,” Rachelle told TODAY in 2016. “The first year I made sure that she was OK, even more than me.”
Rachelle was still able to marry Chris, the man of her dreams, and still wanted what most young women long for. “We were happily wed for a long time, but then I felt that I really wanted a child with Chris,” she said.
That wish was granted five years after her accident through the help of a surrogate, and their daughter Kaylee, born in April 2015, is now 4 years old.
Even though her mom could not do a lot of things such as pick her daughter up, Kaylee worked out on her own how to crawl from her special crib onto her mom’s lap. “It’s really hard to just to [sic] pick her up and pull her towards me, so this tactic works,” said Rachelle. “And she figured it out on her own.
“Knowing that I can’t reach out and pick her up like everyone else, she just crawled onto my lap on her own.”
“I want people to realize, yeah, even though my fingers don’t work, I have found a way to manipulate my hands to do a lot of things,” Rachelle told TODAY. “I can hold Kaylee. I can feed Kaylee and I can play with her while Chris is washing bottles or whatever.
“We have a system that works for us … And beyond love, Kaylee has a house over her head and food in her tummy. She’s a happy, happy baby who doesn’t realize that I’m different. This is normal for her.”
I'm so excited to show you this!! Students from The East Carolina University engineering department have worked hard…
“When I was in the news, people commented that I couldn’t be a good mom,” she wrote on Facebook. “But, do you see that face? That’s one happy kid.”
I’m super late to the game but I want to wish this guy a very happy birthday! I could not picked a better husband for myself or a better father for my daughter. We love you! Pic Rebecca Keller Photography
Nothing seems to hold Rachelle back from leading a fulfilling life—she even went skydiving in 2016! And she can still be a good mother to her child. She is an inspiration for others.
Watch how Rachelle’s daughter, Kaylee, learned to walk by pushing Mom’s wheelchair: