Emily McDermott was left paralysed just weeks after she picked out her white lace wedding dress.
The 23-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year December – a type of blood cancer that forms in your lymphatic system.
The military policeman from Wrexham, Wales, often struggled with severe back pain but mistook it for an injury she thought she picked up at the army obstacle course.
Emily was told to come back to the hospital for her test results but when she got home she felt pins and needles in her legs. The next morning things took a turn for the worse for Emily as she couldn’t feel her legs at all.
“I was frozen to the spot,” says Emily, “I couldn’t move. My legs felt locked. Terrified, I panicked.”
That’s when doctors gave her the devastating news – there was a chance she’d never walk again.
“I expected that diagnosis and was relieved something could be done. But I was very scared that I might not walk again. That was unexpected,” she says.
Doctors sent the devastated wife-to-be for five rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and she started physiotherapy soon after to get her back up on her feet again.
“At first, when I tried to stand, my legs felt like jelly. I’d lose my balance. It isn’t until you lose the ability to walk that you realise how much you take it for granted,” Emily says.
Her parents had tried to convince her to postpone her wedding as she lost most of her hair because of the intense chemotherapy.
But Emily refused and opting to have a lace wig made for her big day.
After some pre-wedding physio on 29 July, Emily walked down the aisle.
“I was fixed on him as I walked. He’d been my rock, I’d been so excited to marry him. Just then I forgot about everyone else, as I was walked down the aisle towards him,” she happily says.
The new bride has been cancer free since June this year and will be enjoying her romantic honeymoon in Thailand in November.