It was any bride-to-be’s worst nightmare.
In 2010, 25-year-old dance instructor Rachelle Friedman was celebrating her hen’s night with her closest friends, when one of them pushed her in a swimming pool as a prank.
Friedman fell awkwardly and hit her head on the bottom of the pool. She sustained a c6 spinal cord injury, and instantly became a quadriplegic.
After the accident, Rachelle wrote:
In the summer of 2010, at my bachelorette party, one of my best friends playfully pushed me into a pool. My head hit the bottom of the pool, and two of my vertebra shattered. The broken vertebra damaged my spinal chord enough to leave me permanently paralyzed from the chest down.
At that moment, my world fell apart, but I stayed as positive as I could be. My fiance at the time (now husband) was away on a camping trip with his family. When he heard the news, he rushed to the hospital, and never once left my side.
Despite that devastating and life-altering injury, Friedman has never once let it stop her from achieving her goals.
Since the accident, she has married her fiancé Chris, played wheelchair rugby, surfed using an adapted board, blogged for Huffington Post, written a best-selling book, and recently had a baby daughter via surrogacy.
She has been interviewed by a range of high-profile publications and is about to feature in a documentary about her life.
She recently participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, and she impressed fellow Redditors with her positivity and overall attitude to life – especially regarding her friend who pushed her that night.
When asked by a Reddit user if she was still friends with the woman who pushed her, this was her response:
Over the years all friendships change when you’re living far apart, but I am not angry about the push itself. It was an accident and I’ve done it a million times. I think most people can say they’ve pushed someone into a pool playfully.
She also explained some of the challenges of life as a quadriplegic with a newborn:
I have limited dexterity so none of it is easy. Takes practice and I couldn’t really practice before I had an actual baby. Doing it on a doll and a squirming baby are two completely different things. I have changed a diaper but it took me a second. I had to use my teeth to pull the tabs tight.
But the best part of the Reddit thread came after Friedman mentioned she wanted to find a hair straightener that could be used by moving her wrist.
And because the internet can sometimes be wonderful, one Redditor responded by designing a prototype for a product that can help her.
Check out his video here and brace yourself for all of the feels:
This wasn’t Rachelle’s first Q&A session on Reddit. In 2013, she answered a series of questions about her injury – including some questions about her sexlife.
Reddit user: Do you still hold a grudge against the friend who pushed you? Are you still friends with him/her? What has s/he said and what does s/he think about your situation?
Rachelle: I love her and have no grudge. I’m not saying it’s right, but I’ve horse-played by a pool and pushed people. I’ve pushed her. What happened was an accident.