Two years ago, Rachelle Friedman was looking forward to her wedding day when a playful push into a swimming pool by one of her bridesmaids at a party left her with a fractured C6 vertebra in her neck. Paralyzed from the collar bone down, she now makes it her mission to let others know they still have the opportunity to lead fulfilling and even sexy lives.
Now married to her then fiancé Chris Chapman, Rachelle Chapman, 26, dreams of motherhood and of teaching other women how to be confident even if they are confined to wheelchairs. Today, she can drive a specially equipped van and through the help of her rehab team at “Project Walk,” has experienced standing and walking with the assistance of specialized machines.
Chapman believes that you can be sexy and beautiful in or out of a wheelchair. Despite your circumstances, you can always have confidence, she says. To prove it, she entered the Ms. Wheelchair Pageant in North Carolina but lost. She is also taking her show on the road by visiting schools where she will read the children’s book “New Opportunities” to help kids understand spinal cord injuries. Next up on her list is writing a book of her own about her experiences. She hopes it will inspire others in her situation.
In the meantime, Chapman continues physical therapy at “Project Walk’’ in Carlsbad, Calif. Her physical therapist, Kimberly Davis wants to help Chapman get into the best possible condition so she can become a mother. Davis believes both the Chapman’s deserve a chance at parenthood and that they will make excellent parents.
Following her injury, Chapman’s wedding was delayed for over a year but her fiancé remained at her side and the two married on July 22, 2011. 1-800-Registry paid for wedding and the honeymoon in Fiji. Since then Chapman has continued to rack up milestones with her progress and her confidence. She has increased her range of motion and her strength in her upper body allowing her to push herself up the ramps in her home. Her confidence and recovery have also allowed her to play on a wheelchair rugby team.
Husband Chris, who claims he is more protective of his wife since her accident, couldn’t be prouder.