(INSIDE EDITION) — It’s a story of true love for this Mississippi couple who tied the knot following a devastating car accident that left the bride quadriplegic, months prior to their big day.
Bride Anna Claire Waldrop and groom James “Jimbo” Waldrop of New Albany, had their lives thrown off-course when a drunk driver struck their car after just one month of being engaged.
Anna Claire told InsideEdition.com that she remembers Valentine’s Day 2016 like it was yesterday.
She and Jimbo, seniors at Delta State University at the time, were driving home late from a friend’s birthday party when “all of a sudden we saw headlights behind us. I remember clenching the steering wheel thinking if I just stay in my lane, they will go around us.”
But that wasn’t the case.
The driver hit their car, and Jimbo went flying through the sunroof.
Anna Claire, who had her seatbelt on, stayed in the car as it flipped four times.
“That was the worst night of my life,” Jimbo told InsideEdition.com.
While he escaped with minor injuries, it became apparent that Anna Claire’s spinal injury would leave her a quadriplegic.
As they both healed from their wounds, they started to look toward their future. Anna Claire started her grueling journey with physical therapy, and Jimbo learned what it would be like to become her primary caregiver.
“I remember riding [the bus], my first outing, and I saw a girl around my age running down the street,” she recalled. “I was just like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe my life is like this.'”
The couple met in fifth grade and started dating in 11th grade. Following the accident, people began to doubt whether they would survive as a couple.
“We looked like kids. We are young and we would hear stories of couples who were married for years and would break up after this situation,” Anna Claire said. “We were like, ‘No, we are getting married and we are going to live together.’”
Jimbo admitted his parents had their doubts.
“My parents would be like, ‘Jimbo, you might oughta rethink this,'” he said. “I was like, ‘No, we are getting married. I am not going to live in y’all’s house. We are going to move in together and live like husband and wife.'”
Members of their community supported them. Jimbo was able to secure a job with a local school that allowed him to get a mortgage on their home.
And it was continued support from their friends and family that helped the couple achieve the fairytale wedding of their dreams.
“I wanted to fix my hair and put on my earrings, I wanted to do all that but I had to get my sister and friends to do it,” she said. “All my bridesmaids had to pick me up and put me in my dress. Everyone had to pitch in to make that day happen.”
After their October wedding, Anna Claire said the pair are happily married and she is now working toward becoming a speech therapist, what she had been studying before the accident that changed her life.
“Most quadriplegics stay at home [but] I want to work,” she said. “That’s my end goal. We just want to be happy and live as normal as possible.”