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My name is Ashley Kurtz and my fiancé’s name is Kiel Eigen. We have been together over 5 years now, and engaged since April 28, 2018. We are going to be getting married November 2, 2019. We met through friends and after our first date we hit it off, even living an hour away from one another, we were inseparable. We dated for 4 years and our relationship quickly grew. When Kiel and I first began dating and I was told he was in a wheelchair, I didn’t know what to expect. When we went on our first date, Kiel drove and to be honest I didn’t have a clue at that moment how that was going to happen, if I’d need to help him get out of his car, the questions raced in my mind. When we got to the restaurant, I got out of his van and waited for him on the drivers side door, little did I know he was going to come down a ramp that deployed from the back passenger side. From that moment on, I had no doubts about Kiel- wheelchair or not, I knew I wanted to be apart of his life and I certainly wanted him apart of mine. Kiel is truly just such a special human being. He was injured playing football, during the first game of the season when he was just 14 years old. Kiel was always competitive in all sports he played, and he was an exceptional athlete. On September 12, 2006 Kiel collided face mask to face mask with another player, and instantly he knew something was wrong. He explains that moment to have felt like his entire lower body felt like it was asleep, like when your foot falls asleep. He couldn’t move but was fully aware of what was happening. Even so, with such a tragedy occurring Kiel was concerned about getting home by Friday to see a new movie that was coming out, he didn’t fully understand the severity of his injury. He says that he thought he was going to get a neck brace and be sent home. He didn’t know he wouldn’t be able to walk, or that his life was about to be completely different. He was life flighted off the football field and taken to an ICU in Philadelphia for 13 days. After his time in the ICU, he spent time at Allied Services inpatient rehab, and then went on to do outpatient. Throughout his entire ordeal he kept up with school, wasn’t held back and graduated on time with his class. Kiel now goes back to Allied Rehab to talk to newly injured patients and to show them life still goes on, and it’s all about how you look at the situation. Some days aren’t perfect even still for him but you’d never know it based off of his attitude. He’s always positive and pushing to make a difference in people’s lives. He works full time at Quantum Rehab, a wheelchair manufacturer where he helps with the technology and advancements for wheelchair users. We have gone to advocate at the hill in Washington to allow for better accessibility throughout this country. He just never stops making a difference. He has opened my eyes to so much. Kiel has taught me to be selfless and to always live life to the fullest, as you never know what tomorrow will bring. Our relationship isn’t perfect but together we are perfect. There is good in everyday, and I’m grateful for him- wheelchair or not. We bought our first home this year, and are proceeding to get ready for our upcoming wedding. Kiel proposed to be at a winery on April 28, 2018 in front of people we both love. It was a perfect day and I still can’t believe almost a year layer we are going to be married this year! Kiel always says that the only disability in life is a bad attitude! 


Comments

  • Monica.TMonica.T Posts: 96Member ✭✭
    25 Likes 10 Comments 5 Awesomes Photogenic
    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! May your lives be blessed with fun adventures and happiness.
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 130Moderator Moderator
    100 Comments 25 Likes 5 Awesomes Photogenic
    What a sweet story! If you ever hear about any opportunities to join advocating on Capitol Hill, please share with us on Reeve Connect!
  • iamdadmaniamdadman Posts: 137Moderator Moderator
    100 Comments 25 Awesomes 25 Likes Name Dropper
    @kurashley
    Congratulations!  That is awesome.  Love is love and it doesn't matter what the packaging is.  Both you and Kiel sound like great people.  Able bodied people don't have perfect days either.  We all have our challenges regardless of whether we are able to walk or not.  I am originally from New York but live just north of Seattle now.  I have been married to my wife for 44 years this June 21.  We have three children, all grown and married and I couldn't be happier.  My wife and kids, my brothers and sisters and my friends make my life wonderful.  And when I am by myself, I will listen to music, read or play and record music in my digital recording studio.  I play piano.  I also love the outdoors and Washington state has so many beautiful places to explore.  I am a paraplegic who was injured a little over 8.5 years ago.  The first year and a half was very dark but not any more.  I am so grateful for everything I have and I have much more than a lot of people.  And when I say that I am talking about love.  To me love is the most important thing in the world.  The love of my wife, children, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and friends just fill me with joy.  I wish nothing but the very best for you both and always remember that love conquers all...

    Joe
  • kurashleykurashley Posts: 6Member
    5 Awesomes 5 Likes First Comment
    edited May 14
    @iamdadman it sounds like you have a beautiful family!!! That makes life so wonderful. Happy almost Anniversary! That’s so beautiful to see such a strong love. I love how you mention your first year was dark, but not anymore. It’s easy to see you have a strong and loving support system. That is everything! You’re so right, I love your outlook. Thank you for your kind words!! I wish you and your family happy and healthy days ahead. 
  • kurashleykurashley Posts: 6Member
    5 Awesomes 5 Likes First Comment
    edited May 14
    I will definitely share, @BrookeU!!  Thank you all for your kind words! @Monica.T It means so much :-) 
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