He Was Wheelchair-Bound on Their Big Day—2 Years Later He Dances With His Bride for the 1st Time

Lauren and Joel Jackson met in South Carolina when they were just teens.

They were in and out of touch over the years and even dated other people, but after Joel was paralyzed in a serious car wreck in 2009, the two had an emotional encounter that sparked an old flame.


The tragic accident killed another passenger, and left Joel barely alive with his spine severed from his head and a broken jaw.

Joel even lost his ability to speak. He had to be placed in an induced coma so doctors could do a spinal fusion to restore the broken pieces.

They didn’t expect him to survive the internal decapitation, but he did.

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According to Lauren, doctors said, “This is as good as his life is ever going to be. Make him comfortable.”

Lauren didn’t believe them.

She kept coming in for her daily visits with Joel, each time with the renewed hope that things could get better. She would communicate with him through his computer-aided speaking equipment that allowed him to talk with signals generated through his eyes.

In 2009, they reunited as old friends, and in 2013, they united as husband and wife.


Though he couldn’t say the words, Joel mouthed “I do,” on that perfect day, and then Lauren sat on his lap for their romantic wheelchair dance to Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.”

Lauren looked down and said, “My goodness, you’re so tall.”


They kissed. They eyes locked. And they danced.


Joel called the experience “euphoric,” when he spoke to NBC with through his computer software.


…But Lauren told him that one day, when he could walk, he’d dance with her again. For real.

And they’re 2nd dance put that euphoria to shame when Joel took his bride in his arms for the same dance to the same song—but this time with two feet on the ground. It. Was. Magical…

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