Paralyzed man walks down the aisle on wedding day after being told he may never walk again

Posted at 11:23 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 17:03:28-04

In a fleeting moment, your life can change dramatically. We are introducing you to a couple pushing through tough challenges to show us how the power of love prevails.

Two summers ago, Fred Quin was celebrating the 4th of July at his family’s lake cottage near Grand Rapids. They loaded up the boat and headed to the sand bar.

“I decided to go off the front of the boat, and that’s when it gets fuzzy,” Fred Quin recalls the moment his life changed forever.

Fred’s girlfriend, Meghan Anderson, noticed Fred was acting strangly. She walked over to him and grabbed his shoulder.  He didn’t move!

The group grabbed a raft, put it under Fred, called 911, and floated him to shore.  They were met by the ambulance.

Within four hours, Fred was in surgery.  He'd shattered his C-6 vertebrae causing his body to become motionless. 

"The surgery was to remove those pieces, put a donor bone in, put a plate in the front side, and on the back side put two rods going down my spine.  And they fused my C-5 to C-7 vertebras," he says.

The trauma doctor told Fred he would never walk again, and he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

“It was devastating!” Meghan added.

Fred wasn't giving up on his hope to walk someday, so he spent every day in therapy. 

With Meghan always by his side and after months of rehab, there was a sign of progress. He felt the first sensation since the accident.

“My first moment was my big toe on my left foot” Fred said with a big smile.

Things were really coming together. He moved back home and started intense workouts at DMC's Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM).

“Fred’s determination is like, it’s kind of what makes you make it enjoyable to come to work,” said RIM Physical Therapist, Kyle Weishaupt.

They have been putting Fred in a wearable motorized machine that helps increase strength and endurance during workouts.

“With the robot, the Exoskeleton, and me, we can get him up, and we can do over 1,000 steps in one session,” Weishaupt explained.

As the steps progressed, so did Fred and Meghan’s relationship. On their 8-year “dating” anniversary, Fred and Meghan returned to the water for a pontoon ride, and he proposed.

“She said yes!” Fred said. “It was pretty awesome!”  

“The next goal is to walk down the aisle with Meghan with just with one crutch,” he said.

On May 12, 2018, Meghan became Fred’s beautiful bride, and he accomplished his biggest goal.

He walked down the aisle on his wedding day -- fulfilling his dream and sharing his special day with family and friends. 

“Whether it’s exactly how we wanted it to happen or not, that’s not what matters. It's that we’re doing it together, and we’re happy," Meghan Quin said beaming. 

After the honeymoon, Fred and Meghan plan on getting back to their life and setting new goals for their future. His next big challenge is to master walking in the grocery store.

Congratulations to the Quins!