An American wedding reception. A bride in a dress waits for her father to walk away. The father, who has a walking device on his lower body, struggles to move step by step. The father, who stood in front of the bride with difficulty, said: “Would you like to dance a song with Dad?”
A father who was paralyzed in an accident 21 years ago created a miracle of walking alone at his daughter’s wedding. This is to keep the promise with my daughter that we would stand on two legs and dance together. The main character who made the reception a sea of tears is Sam Schmidt (56), a former indycar racer. USA Today introduced the touching story of Schmidt and his daughter Savannah Boher (23) on the 23rd of last month (local time).
car accident and paralysis
Schmidt, a young businessman in his twenties, started his career as a racer in 1995 at the age of 31. After two years, he made his name in the ‘Indie 500’, one of the world’s top three automobile races, and took the first place in the 1999 motor speedway race and took the top spot.
But his first win was his last. In January 2000, he got into an accident while driving a test drive during the opening game of the league. Immediately after the accident, he suffered a crisis of suffocation for four minutes and was forced to rely on a ventilator for five months. Fortunately, he regained consciousness, but a vertebra injury left his neck paralyzed. It was the same situation as Christopher Reeve, the protagonist of the movie Superman, who was paralyzed by a fall. Doctors sentenced Schmidt, 34, to six years in prison.
“I believed that one day I would definitely walk again”
After the accident, Schmidt is said to have fallen into despair. However, he could not give up his life easily because he had a wife, Shelia, a two-year-old daughter, Bo-Her, and a six-month-old son.
He decided to challenge the racer again. Immediately, he formed a racing team ‘Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ (now Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and started training with colleagues. In 2013, it collaborated with US IT company Arrow Technologies to develop the Chevrolet Corvette C7, a racing car that can be driven only by head movements. Thanks to this, I was able to stand in front of the starting line of the 2014 ‘Indie 500’.
However, there was a mountain that could not be crossed to the end. He was standing alone on two legs. It was almost impossible for him, who was paralyzed all over his body.
It was the announcement of his daughter’s marriage in 2019 that lifted him up. At that time, Schmidt remembered his daughter’s childhood, who had been begging for “Dad, let’s dance together”, and although it was late, he said that he would surely make that wish come true.
So I focused on rehabilitation for the past two years. With the help of professional medical staff and rehabilitation therapists, she exercised 2 hours a day 4-5 days a week and lost weight. It is also fitted with an exoskeleton assist device to assist with walking. Although I had to rely on the machine, little by little I gained strength. On April 25th, two months before the wedding. Finally, I stood upright on my own two legs. It had been 21 years since the accident.
On the day of the wedding, Bo-he met his father, who was walking on two legs, for the first time. At Schmidt’s surprise appearance, the reception was a mixture of tears, cheers and laughter, and applause erupted. Schmidt danced with his daughter to the Spanish song ‘Dance with Me, Dad’ and ‘Stand by Me’ with his wife. Bohe said, “When I was a child, it was my dream to hold hands with my dad like other friends and dance while looking up at my dad’s eyes.” He said, “I always believed that the day my dad would walk. Today, I’m back to my two-year-old daughter, Bo-Hero, and my father, 34-year-old Schmidt.”
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