A British veteran who has been using a wheelchair for the past seven years shocked her husband-to-be on their wedding day when she arrived at the end of the aisle — by walking.
Emma Kitson, 35, of West Yorks, joined the Royal Artillery when she was 18 and was deployed to Iraq in 2003.
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Emma Kitson walking on her wedding day.
While in service, she claims she carried 100-pound shells for AS90 bullet tanks on her back in an attempt to “keep up with the lads,” Kitson told SWNS, a British news agency.
But over time, the heavy weight became too much to bear because it was adversely affecting her spine. At 21, she left the army because of severe back pain.
She later underwent surgery to repair her spine. But when she came to following the procedure, she was unable to feel her left leg, she said.
Emma Kitson on her wedding day.
“I wasn’t prepared for what would happen,” Kitson said.
Though she is not paralyzed, the pain in her leg has prevented her from being able to walk, forcing her to use a wheelchair, the bride said.
But ahead of her wedding day in August, the mom of three was determined to walk to her then-finance, Christopher Kitson, 38.
Emma Kitson dancing on her wedding day in her wheelchair.
“If I’m in a wheelchair for the rest of my life I do not care because I can say I’ve walked to Christopher and then I’ve walked with him out of the church,” she said of her reasoning. “I wanted to avoid being in my wheelchair for as much of the day as possible. I wanted to show my dress off as much as I could on my special day.”
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Emma Kitson when in the armed forces.
Kitson said she spent hours completing strength training exercises for her legs so she could walk 20 feet to the altar.
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On Aug. 9, with a bit of help from her father and son, she successfully walked to her husband.
“I am in constant pain and on so many pain killers that I would rattle if you shook me, but I get on with my life and I enjoy it,” she said. “I am really happy that I ended my single life walking and started my married life walking.”