An Unbreakable Love and Spirit

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I shared the story of Shane and Kelly back in 2016. The couple met through mutual friends and had been dating for only 10 months when Shane was involved in a severe snowboarding accident – shattering several vertebrae and becoming paraplegic.

I’ve followed their journey through Shane’s updates on social media – which are always so honest and brave, but never short of wit and humor. He is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever known.

After waking up from his accident, Shane knew he had a choice – to feel limited by his situation or to push the limits harder than ever. To say Shane chose the latter would be the understatement of the century.

Shane is the definition of someone who lives life to the fullest. I would even go so far to say that Shane lives life more than most people I know who do have use of their legs. He proves that attitude is everything.

In a recent update, Shane wrote:

“My life is full of sacrifices – time, freedom, comfort. I miss the ease of things, and there are plenty of times where I would kill to do what I used to, but I refuse to feel sorry for myself. I decided very early on that if I can’t change it, than I’m going to accept it.  So every day I chose to do that. All of these challenges come with striving to live a normal life. The best part – I have been given the ability to overcome them. Not sure where this comes from, other than it seems to come from everybody else.”

Shane’s family, friends, and community have given him constant support – but of course, the other hero in all of this has been Shane’s significant other, Kelly:

“When I woke up from surgery my whole world had changed – our whole world had changed. I grappled with the thought of what would happen with us – why would she still want to be with me? I had wanted so much more for her, and for us. She shut that down real quick, saying all she needed was what we have.”

“We persevered together. Kelly was by my side through it all – highs that most people take for granted, as I slowly regained my independence back, and lows that hopefully most never have to deal with. She laughed with me in the face of embarrassment, encouraged me during despair, and most of all, loved without judgement. She made everything feel twistingly okay despite the circumstances.

We’ve since gotten on with our lives, although the wheelchair is something we overcome on a daily basis. We don’t look like your average couple, even though we do everything other couples do. We love traveling, music festivals, rooting for Detroit sports teams, going to the beach, drinking beers with our friends, and spending time with family.”

“I typically receive praise for moving on with my life in a wheelchair and for having a positive attitude. But the truth is, I wouldn’t be the man I am without Kelly. She is my better half, my #1 fan, and sometimes even my legs.”

This past weekend, Shane and Kelly were married, with all their friends and family in tow – people who have seen them go through the darkest of days to reach heights no one ever imagined. They’ve overcome so much together and the place was overflowing with love.

Shane and Kelly have touched my life – and the lives of thousands of others – through their relentless optimism, strength, and perseverance. Their relationship is one of undeniable and unconditional love.

So to Kelly and Shane – I say thank you. Thank you for showing us that life is what you make of it. That every day is precious and not to be taken for granted. And thank you for reminding us of the greatest gift of all – love.

Congratulations on your marriage and may your lifetime together be as beautiful as the two people that you are and the impact you’ve made on the world.