A BRIDE-TO-BE has told of her dream – to walk down the aisle while her fiance is still strong enough to marry without a wheelchair.
Kirsty Parkinson, 25, hopes to win the Mail’s Bride of the Year competition, run in conjunction with Robert Usher Photography.
Her fiance Mark Reed, 35, has a deteriorating curvature of the spine. He fears he could be totally confined to a wheelchair within two years.
“I would to love win Bride of the Year,” said Kirsty.
“I can hopefully see Mark stood at the end of the aisle waiting for me before his condition deteriorates and he is confined to his wheelchair 100 per cent of the time.”
The Elwick couple’s two-year romance has been beset with abuse from people who think they should not be together.
Kirsty said: “Mark has a form of dwarfism called achondaplasia which means he is 4 foot 2 inches and suffers from curvature of the spine which causes his nerves to compress.
“It means he is partially paralysed from the waist down.”
Mark, a traffic technician for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Kirsty has accepted me for who I am, but a lot of people think of disability as a negative thing.
“There are people in the streets who see us together and snigger.”
But despite it all, Kirsty, of Manor Close, in Elwick, said: “All this upset has only made us grow stronger together. We would love to be husband and wife.”
That strength has also helped the couple to overcome two more major setbacks in recent months.
They were involved in a car crash on the A179 last September in which Kirsty suffered whiplash to her shoulder and back, as well as injuries to her wrists.
Weeks later, said Kirsty, she was told she had lost the baby she was expecting.
After the tragedy, said Kirsty, she could not eat or leave the house and had to quit her job in a care home.
“I became so low and depressed about this, which resulted in me not being able to leave the house, blaming myself and not being able to eat. Also I had to quit my job in a care home.
“Mark was so strong and supportive and I couldn’t have coped throughout these hard times without him.”
She is now training to start up in a new job.
The couple met on New Year’s Eve 2009. Kirsty said: “From the moment I set eyes on him, I knew he was the one who I would spend the rest of my life with.”
Mark said: “This would mean everything for us. I just want to marry Kirsty.”