Heather Duquette knew her beloved father would be bursting with joy on her wedding day. But she also knew it would be bittersweet, as he wouldn’t be physically able to walk her down the aisle.
In 2012, Ralph Duquette was diagnosed with leukemia on his 61st birthday. As a result, he developed severe neuropathy that paralyzed his body and rendered him unable to walk. He had to learn how to live wheelchair-bound.
When his cancer was in remission, Ralph fell while attempting to take his first steps. He sustained an injury that caused blindness in one eye.
But here’s the thing: Ralph was 100% determined to stand up and walk at Heather’s wedding, which took place in Maine in October 2015.
He was nervous about falling down in front of everyone, but his fears didn’t deter him from the mission at hand.
And here’s the other thing: He didn’t tell his family or friends about his plans to walk again — so an unknowing Heather planned to walk herself down the aisle.
Meanwhile, Ralph formed a dedicated medical team and endured months of physical therapy in order to build his strength. Only his nurses, physical therapists, and Heather’s wedding DJ knew.
Eight months later, Ralph was ready for the big moment.
When the music switched on and he saw Heather prepare to walk down the aisle, Ralph pushed himself off his wheelchair and slowly and carefully stood to his feet, much to the shock of everyone in attendance.
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