Quadriplegic Man Practises To Kneel Down To Propose Her.
Story by Caroline Smith
How many times have you dove into a wave never realizing the danger in doing so? At 23 years old, my son Josh found out how horribly tragic one dive could be. He hit a sandbar with such force it shattered his C-5 vertebrate leaving him a C-6 quadriplegic. Had one of his friends not seen him floating face down in the water, he would have drowned that day. Life as he knew it had changed in one horrific instant.
With his level of injury, living “independently” is very hard to achieve, but we worked together as a team to help him reach that goal. In an incredibly short period of time, Josh was driving an accessible van, back working full-time, participating in adaptive sports, being socially active, and had even begun to invent products for those with limited hand function like himself. Two and half years after his injury he was living independently in an accessible home he had custom built. What a huge achievement!
While Josh had dated some during this time, it wasn’t until February 2020 that he met a beautiful young woman named Grace who would become his fiancé. When Josh knew he wanted her to be his wife, he began to think about how he would propose. Josh so wanted to be able to get down on one knee to ask her the question. But how?
Then he remembered that the facility where he had done physical therapy had an exoskeleton suit which had been used by people when they got married so they could stand and even walk – albeit robotically. Could the therapists possibly help him use it to propose?
Admittedly, the therapists had never attempted using the exoskeleton to help someone do this. But how could they say no to a person as determined as Josh?
Together the figured out just how to do it and then practiced and practiced. On the night of the proposal, Josh arranged for a close friend of Grace’s to take her out for a pedicure so his family could decorate and his therapists could help him get ready on the back deck.
But sometimes even the best laid plans go awry. Josh was all ready for when Grace was due to be back at 6:45pm on June 25th. But that time came and went as did torrential rain! When she finally arrived near 8pm, Josh was down on one knee as she came around the corner of the house.
When her friend took her blindfold off, Grace gasped and burst into tears! There was not a dry eye in the house as we all peeked out the windows to watch the proposal! And guess what? She said YES!