Photos of paralyzed groom standing at his wedding may trigger big, happy tears

Mar 22, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Weddings are hard. You have to participate in a nerve-wracking ceremony, mingle with guests, dance with your parents and spouse in front of everyone, and listen to a long list of speeches. Now imagine doing all that, but you're paralyzed from the chest down. That's what former motocross racer Kent Stephenson was facing before a new technology gave him the chance to stand next to his bride while they said their vows.

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When Stephenson was only 21 years old, he was in a terrible motocross accident that left him mostly paralyzed. He had broken his spine and his doctors explained to him that his injury was "complete," meaning he had no hope of regaining any mobility in his lower body. Or so they thought.

Image: http://www.allixrubyphotography.com/

Thanks to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Stephenson was offered a place in an epidural stimulation trial. His spine was fitted with a stimulation device that actually gave him the ability to move all the parts of his lower body. So far, he's one of only four participants.

But this is where I get all teary-eyed. Stephenson had been dating Misti Richeson for only a few months when the accident happened. She stuck by him through it all and helped him get onto the road to recovery. Now, thanks to her and this miraculous epidural stimulator, Stephenson was able to stand next to his beautiful bride when they got married this month.

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The stimulator allows him to move his toes, legs and hips, and even stand with some assistance. Stephenson went through months of grueling physical therapy to be able to stand by Richeson's side to exchange vows and have that unforgettable first dance as a newly married couple.

Image: Allix Ruby Photography)

... I'm not crying... you're crying.

He was even able to twirl her around the dance floor a bit.

Image: Allix Ruby Photography

This amazing moment would not possible if it weren't for the brilliant minds and tireless efforts of the researchers behind The Big Idea. The development of the their spinal implant and epidural stimulator could change the outlook for many patients who thought they were sentenced to a life in a wheelchair. If this beautiful story inspired you, please consider donating to the cause so that they can help foster more happy endings.

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Wedding photo with paralyzed groom
Image: Allix Ruby Photography


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