Paralyzed man proposes to girlfriend using exoskeleton
[July 23, 2021: Desiree Montilla]
A paralyzed Richmond man is showing nothing is impossible, even when it comes to his marriage proposal.
In 2014, Josh Smith got into an accident during a trip to Virginia Beach.
“I dove into a wave like I’ve done in the past many times. This time, there was a sandbar,” he said. “My head immediately hit the sandbar, and I was instantly paralyzed from the neck down.”
Several years later, Josh regained his independence. Last February, he met Grace Thompson through Bumble.
“When I first saw her profile, her pictures immediately stood out,” he said. “Her whole personality through the pictures really came through.”
Their dates turned into memories with visions of a future full of love.
“Any little girl when they think about getting married and stuff, you’ll always picture the guy on one knee,” said Thompson. “I just had to kind of change my vision.”
With help from his family, friends and therapists, Josh came up with a plan to surprise Grace with her dream proposal using an exoskeleton he uses during his therapy sessions.
“I knew I wanted to do something special for her and surprise her,” he said. “I had used the exoskeleton that I used during the proposal a few times during therapy. I knew about the device, but I had never seen anyone use it to get on one knee.”
On June 25, Josh broke this barrier by getting down on one knee with a ring with a diamond that belonged to Grace’s grandmother.
As the couple celebrates the next chapter of their lives, they’re also showing that love conquers all.
“I love her so much, so I want to be able to give her everything that I can,” he said. “Sometimes I can’t do that, but when I find areas where I can do that, I strive to my hardest to do that.”
The couple plans to get married in a small ceremony and then plan to hold a bigger wedding ceremony next year.
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