When Stephanie Carfrae was just 16, she slowly and painfully lost the ability to walk due a rare and debilitating disease known as Spastic Paraplegia.
It was an affliction that had already taken her brother, Adam’s, legs and that slowly took her’s, as well.
But Stephanie wasn’t going to let that stop her from standing by her sister’s side on her wedding day.
Unbeknownst to her sister, Stephanie secretly began making plans with her physiotherapist, intent on surprising her sister by walking down the aisle as her bridesmaid to make her big day “even more special".
From there, Stephanie began her gruelling sessions with the help of physiotherapist, Kate Busby.
“Walking for Steph is not easy - she has a metal plate in her left foot to keep it stable, but her right foot is not as stable so she had to be fitted for a splint to hold it in place but the foot still drags,” Busby told Get Surrey.
“The solution was to wear boots with a little heel which lifted her foot off the floor enough to take a step,” Kate explained.
“She practised and exercised every day without fail. She also took care not to let her sister, Georgina, see her standing or walking as she wanted it to be a complete surprise.”
And on the day of her sister’s wedding, after practicing for more than six months, Stephanie got up out of her wheelchair and slowly but surely made her way down the aisle.
With her loved ones looking on, tears in their eyes, Stephanie made it the whole way down the aisle without so much as a stumble.
“The walking felt incredible, although at one point it was a bit tough as my feet met and I nearly tripped, but I remembered to take very small steps, so I felt confident. I did it,” said Stephanie.
Stephanie’s sister, Georgina, was overwhelmed with happiness when she saw her sister’s amazing feat.
“It was so special when I found out that my little sister wanted to try and practise walking, and put up with intense physio, in order to walk down the aisle for my wedding. I always told her not to put pressure on herself, but I knew she was determined to try,” said Georgina.
"It was truly the icing on the cake for us on the day and a true gift to be able to watch her walk down the aisle in front of me beaming. She has always been an inspiration to me, but on that day she was an inspiration to everyone and it just added to what was already an amazing and unforgettable day,” she said.
Georgina and Stephanie’s mum, Sue, also added: “We are so proud of all our four children, but on this day, Steph’s determination to walk added an extra special moment to treasure on what was an amazing family occasion.”
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