In the four years since she became paralyzed, Ally Grizzard always held on to the dream that she would one day walk down the aisle at her wedding.
With determination and will, Ally made the dream a reality when she wed her longtime boyfriend, Amos Grizzard, on October 6.
“Walking down the aisle was never really a question for me. I knew even before we got engaged that I had planned on still walking down the aisle to my husband one day,” Ally, 22, tells PEOPLE.
“I had pictured it in my head since I was a little girl and I didn’t want that picture to play out differently just because of my accident. I think every girl dreams about it from the time they’re little, so I didn’t want to give up on that dream. I chased it instead.”
On January 31, 2015, Ally spotted a hay truck barreling towards her while driving her 6-week-old puppy, Lilly, to the vet. With only moments to react, Ally quickly swerved out of the truck’s path, but she lost control and her car continued to flip for 75 yards. She was thrown 50 feet in the wreck and hit the ground directly on her back. Her dog Lilly survived the accident.
“I tried to get up, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t feel,” Ally, from Carrollton, Georgia, says. “I couldn’t do anything.”
Ally was airlifted to a local hospital, where doctors discovered she was bleeding internally and her spine was shattered and severed. Because her injury had occurred along the T12 section of the spine, she was paralyzed from the waist down.
The following weeks and months were filled with physical therapy sessions that focused on teaching her how to use a wheelchair and utilize her upper body.
As she would soon learn, with the help of her family and Amos, her then-boyfriend, Ally regained much more than what she lost on that day.
“Emotionally and physically after, it was hard. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through,” she says. “It was tough to get used to and just tough learning how to live all over again in a way that I had never lived in before, but it made me who I am today.”
She continues: “It made me a better person. Things today have never been better. I am so thankful for my accident and I tend to always try to look at everything it gave me, rather than everything it took away from me. I couldn’t ask for a better life. I’m grateful for it all.”
Ally and Amos had only been dating six months when the accident happened. But through it all, Amos has remained her “rock,” Ally says.
So when he proposed on Valentine’s Day of last year, Ally began training with leg braces so she could walk in her wedding.
The big moment, which was documented by photographer Ashlee Burgess, shows Ally, who typically uses a wheelchair, taking steps while being assisted by her father and stepfather.
“I feel was the biggest moment of my life. I’m not going to lie, it was tough. I had trained for it and put in so much hard work walking in my leg braces and so many long days in physical therapy and yet, the day came and I still feel like I wasn’t prepared,” Ally, who regularly posts updates to her Instagram account, says.
“I was so nervous. It was my very first time walking uphill and on grass and there was actually a point where I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make it to the end, but I knew I just had to keep going.”
Step by step, Ally made it to her groom.
“I believe he was placed in my life at the time that he was for a reason,” she says of Amos. “God knew I would need him in the days to come during the hardest time in my life.”
After having gone through so much, Ally is looking forward to the many years ahead with her new husband.
“Now I feel the end of the aisle was only just the beginning of something even better!” Ally says.