When one New York bride became engaged, she immediately thought how she’d “figure out” how to make sure her father, who’s been paralyzed for 10 years, was included.
Chavuanne Cousins’ father, Dorian Wills, became paralyzed after a ski accident in 2007. The father of four daughters loved skiing, often hitting the slopes twice a week during the winter months.
“It was the last day of ski season,” Wills, 52, recalled to ABC News. “And I took a bad fall, went unconscious and woke up getting ready for an emergency flight to the hospital.”
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Alencia JohnsonChavuanne Cousins with her husband, Joseph, on their wedding day, Sept. 15, 2017, in Buffalo, NY.
When Cousins got engaged, Wills too thought of how he’d walk his eldest daughter down the aisle.
“I even thought about buying a wheelchair that actually stands you up vertically, but the investment was just too costly,” he explained. “I couldn’t pull it off before the wedding.”
Still, Cousins, 32, knew it would work itself out. When planning the wedding she thought to herself, “OK, let’s figure out how to do it. It wasn’t a question of him not being in it.”
The two decided to have Cousins’ younger sister Brooke push Wills down the aisle “while he held my hand,” Cousins recalled.
During the rehearsal, Cousins said her sister “ran over my train a little bit. And I’m not going to lie, I got a little nervous, but she course corrected.”
The wedding day, which featured 120 guests, went off without a hitch. The two even enjoyed a father-daughter dance inside their reception, held at Asbury Hall in Buffalo, New York. Cousins wanted the two to dance to Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”
“Since she was a little girl, I’ve remembered every facet, every corner, every turn, every milestone in great detail. During all these experiences, she’s always been the sunshine of my life. She’s made me so proud. I was thrilled to be there,” Willis said of the moment.
Cousins agreed. “I’m his oldest daughter so I’m the first one to get married and I could just see the look in his eyes. It was so special,” she said.