A wheelchair-bound groom stood for the first time in a decade, with the aid of his friends, to dance with his wife at their wedding.
Former college baseball player Chance Veazey, from Tifton, Georgia, was paralyzed from the waist down when he was involved in a motor scooter collision in Athens, Georgia, in 2009.
He was left with life-altering injuries, including a severely damaged spine and a fracture to his 10th vertebra in his back.
But just over ten years later, with the help of his three friends Rhett Hammond, Cody Cottle and John White, Chance rose to his feet, held his wife and slow-danced to their favorite song, ‘Because You Loved Me’ by Celine Dion.
No one other than his three friends and new wife, Molly, knew about the dance, which Chance had practiced three times with his soon-to-be wife.
In the video filmed by the groom’s aunt, guests can be heard cheering as they watch Chance move to the music while embracing Molly.
Eventually, his tearful mother Darby comes to dance, a moment she never thought would happen after Chance’s horrific accident.
Speaking after the wedding, Chance said: ‘It was the most magical moment of my life up until this point.
‘The only thing that will ever top this will be when our first child is born one day. It was an awesome feeling standing above Molly and having her head on my chest.
‘This type of injury can sometimes make you feel like less of a man. It can take a lot way from you.
‘I have always prided myself of being the man of my household and taking care of my family, but for the first time I felt it on the outside and not just the inside.
‘I didn’t just do this for me and my wife, but I wanted to do it for everyone. Out of the 380 people there, every one of them has been on this journey with me since my accident. I wanted to it for them just as much as myself.
‘More than anything though I wanted to do it for my parents. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and I wanted them to see their son stand tall on his wedding day.
‘I wanted my mom to be able to dance with her son like it should be. I was most excited to see her reaction and it did not disappoint.
‘It was a very emotional, yet uplifting moment in time that I wish I could freeze forever.’
In 2009, prior to the accident, Chance had been a promising college baseball player on the cusp of becoming a starter as a baseman.
But his University of Georgia sporting career was cut short on October 28, 2009, when he swerved to avoid a car turning left in front of him.
As he attempted to avoid the car, his scooter slid and crashed into the side of the car.
He was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery to stabilize his spine.
Chance said: ‘My world was crushed. I had only been at UGA 3 months. I was living my dream and about to start as a freshman at second base for one of the top baseball programs in the country.
‘Then after the accident not only was baseball taken away from me but so was the way I was brought into this world.
‘I had to learn to live a completely different life.’
Chance began the long road to rehabilitation with the support of his family and then girlfriend Molly.
Despite the devastating news that he would never walk again, he continued his studies at college.
But two years after the accident, Molly and Chance broke up, for reasons unrelated to the accident. But after a long period apart, they eventually reconciled their relationship.
Chance explained: ‘We were apart six years and didn’t have much contact. I would see her a few times a year when we were back home for the holidays to see our families, but one of us would always be in a relationship.
‘It wasn’t until 2018 that we both were single, and the opportunity presented itself.
‘We decided to go out on a date and the rest was history. We knew immediately that this was it for us. It was all about timing.
‘We were two totally different people than we were young and dumb in college. As you get older your morals, values, and things you appreciate in life tend to change.
‘So, all of the stars just happened to align for us later on in life.’
The couple eventually set a date for their wedding, and as the date drew closer, Chance decided he wanted to do something special to mark the occasion.
Roping in three of his buddies, he began practicing his first dance, with them supporting him.
After three tries, he felt ready to do it on the day – but the couple decided to keep it a secret and surprise their friends and families.
As the compere announced their first dance, Chance’s friends can be seen sat on two chairs with a gap in the middle.
As a few members of the audience look puzzled, Chance wheels his chair in between – and with the music going he rises to his feet.
An emotional Molly watches on before joining Chance in an embrace as they rock back and forth.