Paralyzed Teen Walks Down Aisle At Sister’s Wedding


Sixteen months ago a car accident forever changed Mackenzie Gorden’s life. Doctors told her parents their 18-year-old daughter would never walk again. But Mackenzie was determined to prove them wrong, especially since she was asked to be the maid of honor at her sister Brittany’s wedding. 

“I never accepted that I couldn’t walk again,” Gorden says. “If I don’t want to be in the chair, I’ve got to do something myself to get out of it.”

The Lake City, Iowa, teen worked for months at a groundbreaking paralysis-recovery training center in Colorado. Never giving up, the courageous high school senior kept working toward her goal of walking down the aisle. And on the day of her sister’s wedding, Mackenzie wheeled up to the ceremony and did the impossible. With the help of her brother on one side and the best man on the other, she walked as best as she could down the aisle to join the bridesmaids at the altar.
She pulls hard on the arm of her brother on her left and the best man on her right, and they stand upright together. A pause, a few seconds to think, and then somehow a signal breaks through from her brain or her spine, and her right leg swings forward.

The steps are not beautiful, on their own. Her right leg crosses too far, her left leg follows, also too far. But each time, the men bracing her discreetly slide their loafers in to nudge her foot back in line. Gorden joins the other bridesmaids at the altar. The wheelchair carries nothing but Gorden’s bouquet.

Karen had said in the first year of her daughter’s injury that she had lost all the daydreams of Gorden getting married. But she thinks she “can see that happening, now.”

Brittanie follows up the aisle and hugs her little sister hard.

Mackenzie’s mother, Karen Gorden, said she had feared her daughter might never walk down the aisle on the day of her own wedding, but now that fear will never become a reality.

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