Paralyzed Bogalusa Bride Overcomes Incredible Odds To Walk Down The Aisle
The story of a Louisiana bride overcoming incredible odds has caught the attention of NBC's "Today" and TLC's "Say Yes To The Dress: Atlanta".
27-year-old Katie Breland Hughes of Bogalusa, LA said she hit rock bottom after her involvement in a horrific car accident left her paralyzed from the waist down.
“Honestly, I had so many skin graft surgeries and so many burns, my first goal was just to sit up in the bed," said Hughes in an interview with Today.com.
The initial report was bleak.
Hughes was told she'd never walk again. However, after a 9-hour surgery doctors learned her spinal cord was not as damaged as they originally thought. It was the glimmer of hope needed to inspire the dream Hughes thought was all but lost after the original prognosis.
“I told my sister from the beginning, I will not get married — whoever it be to, or whenever it happens — I will not do it until I can walk down the aisle. I just won’t be in a wheelchair,” she said. “So that was always a goal. I didn’t know the next year it would actually happen.”
Following a 100-day hospital stay, Hughes, a former personal trainer and physical therapy assistant began training towards her goal.
Hughes traveled to Michigan to train with a coach that specialized in working with paraplegics.
Along the way, Hughe's reconnected with Odie Hughes, a former acquaintance that would move up her marriage timeline faster than she originally expected. Three months after reconnecting with Odie, Hughes was engaged.
Hughes said at first she was nervous about Odie seeing her in a wheelchair.
“I didn’t know how he would accept that, or how he would feel about that,” she recalled. “But it was like he never even saw the chair, he just saw me. He believed everything with me. If I told him, ‘I think I can do this. I want to try this,’ then he would be my biggest cheerleader.”
Throughout her journey, Hughes began gaining attention and support for her cause.
The Facebook page "Pray for Katie" amassed thousands of fans while chronicling Hughe's journey.
Soon, local and national media began to take notice. Hughe's has been profiled Louisiana News Channel WAFB as well as a number of national media outlets.
When Hughes finally did make it down the aisle, it was the culmination of a lot of prayers, patience, and hard work.
“I felt like this was everybody’s fairytale ending. This was the story they had been following for so long and this was the ending they were waiting to see,” she said. “So I felt like there was a lot of pressure but there was no greater reward than getting to the end of that aisle, for sure.”
You can follow Hughes' entire miraculous journey from wheelchair to wedding altar in her TODAY.com profile.
Hughes will also be featured on the season debut of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" on Jan. 2.