Chris Norton: Defying doctors’ odds that he’d never walk again, Chris walked with his bride down the aisle
Up until 2010, Chris Norton from Iowa, US was a teenager who loved playing American Football and many other sports.
However after a tackle that caused two vertebrae in his neck to snap, the then 18-year-old became paralysed from the neck downwards.
“In an instant, I lost all feeling and movement from my neck down,” Chris told The Sun. “I was listening to the players crash into each other above me, and then the whistle blew and I tried as hard as I could to push off the ground but I couldn’t move.”
Doctors gave him a 3 per cent chance of ever experiencing feeling or movement below his neck.
But Chris was determined to recover.
He stayed in hospital for three months and then moved to a charity-run home as he began treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Breaking his limitations, Chris walked the stage on his graduation day in 2015 and in 2018, he walked his bride down the aisle on their wedding day.
Speaking about his graduation day, he said: “On the day I was so nervous I was almost sick. Graduations are so long I was worried I’d get booed off stage for being too slow.
“But when Emily stood me up the whole room erupted into a roar of applause and cheers and clapping, which gave me a little extra fuel to the fire.
“When I got to the end, I looked up to accept my diploma and acknowledge the crowd’s support and everyone was crying, from my mum to my best buddies and people I’ve never seen cry.
“I had no idea how emotional and powerful that moment was for so many people.”
Continuing to defy all odds, Chris trained for hours everyday so he could walk his wife down the aisle.
The husband and wife have gone on to parent seven children through foster and adoption.
Chris says: “It took me time to realise that happiness isn’t measured by steps.
“There are people who can run, jump and swim who are unhappy, so happiness has nothing to do with our physical abilities and everything to do with our mindset.
“Every day, I focus on my abilities and not my disabilities, the things I can do, not what I can’t. That’s what gives me my positive attitude.”