11/30/10: Paralyzed bride-to-be is the epitome of class, strength

Rachelle Friedman,  a 24 year old woman from Virginia, has shown nothing but strength and class since a prank at her bachelorette party last May resulted in paralysis.

It was a push into the pool from one of her friends that caused Rachelle’s injury. And while the friend has been “having a tough time with it,” regarding the guilt, which Rachelle discusses in an interview with Meredith Viera on the Today Show interview (watch here), she’s of present mind even six months post to know the guilt isn’t on her friend, or anyone else for that matter. Spinal cord injuries happen way easier than the average Joe thinks. If a fall out of a hammock 2 feet from the ground can incur paralysis (no joke it happened to someone I know), no one is safe from it’s reaches.

I’m impressed with Rachelle’s bad-assery so soon in the game. She’s already playing quad rugby and wearing knee-high black heeled hoots in her wheelchair. These are stages it takes years to get to when adjusting to paralysis, like finding the strength to accept your new image as a disabled person and play disabled sports (not easy for someone like Rachelle who was a dance and aerobics instructor when she was able-bodied), and working hard to still look hot, which BTW isn’t easy the first year, with all the skin and swelling issues that can happen.

Maybe she’s determined to not let her injury seem “OMG that’s so awful” as soon as possible out of concern for her guilty friend. I know I was that way with my accident. I just wanted to move out of emergency mode ASAP, partially for me and partially for my Mom, who I wanted to see that my injury didn’t ruin my life.

In case you were wondering, Rachelle and her husband are still together and you will not catch me saying “good for her” or “isn’t that great” that her husband hasn’t high-tailed it yet (not every guy is a slime ball, media puppets). They plan on finally getting married by next year (watch Say Yes to the Dress season 4 ep 7, Rach, if you need help finding a dress!). They’ve also talked about their worry of Rachelle losing Medicaid, which pays for everything she needs to live at home (including personal care attendants, which private insurance won’t cover) if they married, but…there are ways around this. They could just have a religious ceremony and leave the government out of it. They’ll figure it out.

It’s not everyday someone with such profound elegance in such an incredibly trying situation gets the attention they deserve. It is awesome the entire world is learning about Rachelle’s story.

To keep tabs on Rachelle’s progress and to donate to her various needs, visit RachelleFriedman.com

And for an AOL blog on her story, with 800+ comments from readers, you gotta check-out Bachelorette Party Prank Leaves Bride Paralyzed

– Tiffiny, the fashionista paralyzed blogger  (bio)

2 comments
  1. Great article, Tiff! Glad she’s doing ok. I was put on the brave and “I’m ok” front for the first 6 months too, then it hits you, the reality of it. All the attention subsides, people go back to their lives, and then you’re left with living in a way that’s not natural, (I know I know, it’s doable, but it’s not natural and as you know- it’s HARD even though we don’t admit it very often). Anyhow, I hope she stays in a good mood. As far as Medicaid- if she wants to get married, all I can say is GET A JOB- that’s a choice too. Many jobs have good medical insurance.

  2. thanks kelly!

    while you’re right, working is great, there are unfortunately no private insurance companies out there that cover personal care attendants, which she absolutely needs as a quad. my friend mark, a quad w/ a great job, still has to be on medicaid still to cover his needs. luckily in minnesota there’s a pay-in medicaid prgm for quads so that’s even possible: to work & receive his benefits.. this prgm however doesn’t exist in other states (to my knowledge).

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