The paralyzed bride pedals to the sea, husband by her side

Credit: Carolinas Rehabilitation

Robbie Parks and Brian Muscarella

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 2:24 PM

MONROE, N.C. -- We knew it would be a cool story. Inspirational; emotional even.

A group of people with disabilities, we're talking paraplegics, pedaling to the beach using just their hands as part of the Cycle to the Sea ride.

But just days before we were to leave for the three-day ride, we learned some specifics about some of the people who would be on the 180 mile journey.

You may remember them from the Today Show. We did: Rachelle and Chris Chapman.

“I guess you could say soul mates; maybe we all have somebody that's perfect for us, but I know for a fact he’s perfect for me,” Rachelle said.

She's the girl that broke her neck during her bachelorette party. A friend playfully pushed her in the pool.  It was three weeks before the wedding.

“Was there ever a question for you about sticking around? It never was,” Chris answers.

Chris more than stuck around.

“My husband Chris is always there. He even-- he's learned how to do hair. When I was in rehab; he was doing makeup before I learned how to do it. He's done everything and been amazing."

They got married a year after originally planned, but it was a beautiful wedding. Rachelle came down the aisle in her wheelchair.

Just months after her accident, Chris rode in Cycle to the Sea in Rachelle's honor.

It’s a fundraiser to help raise money and awareness about ASAP, Adaptive Sports and Adventure Program, that helps people with disabilities play sports.

“When she was in rehab one of the first things we realized we'd be able to do together is cycle.”

This is his third year on the ride. And this year is different-- Rachelle is riding too.

She's not sure how far she'll make it. She barely has any hand function.

“My goal is between 10 and 15 miles, maybe I'll go further. We'll see. That's my goal,” she expressed.

Day one is challenging.

"I can't make it up this hill," She says, getting a nudge from Chris.

She struggles when her wrist falls out of the handle she pedals.

The group stops and gets Rachelle re-situated. She makes it farther than anyone expected.

“It is hard, but it is so much fun,” she says of the challenge.

Husband Chris said, “I told her I'd be right there for her and we're gonna get her as far as she's able to go.”

She's doing it. Chris by her side, pushing her up the hills, fixing her bike when it breaks—together.

They live by two mantras:  the first, you've probably heard, “Let it be.”

“The other one is, ‘it is what it is,’ and it really is. I can't go backwards and change it so I just kind of have to deal with it and push forward.”

Push she does. Until the finish line. Chris, with her every step of the way.

For more information on Rachelle and Chris click here.

If you’d like more information about the ride, check it out here.

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