Paralysed man uses an exoskeleton suit to pop the question on bended knee

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Josh Smith proposed to his girlfriend Grace Thompson. (PHOTO: Facebook / Josh Smith)
Josh Smith proposed to his girlfriend Grace Thompson. (PHOTO: Facebook / Josh Smith)

The best marriage proposals are not only special but memorable too – and Josh Smith wanted to make sure both boxes were ticked when he popped the question to his sweetheart, Grace Thompson.

But this young man needed something extra to ensure he could do it on bended knee.

READ MORE | This Cape Town man spent R75 000 to give his love the engagement of her dreams

Josh (31) who lives in Richmond, Virginia in the US, was 24 when he lost the use of his legs and was left with only partial use of his hands and arms after a diving accident. He was determined to make the most of his life, however, and fought his way back to health. He relearned how to drive and designed a house that suited his new needs.

But despite the progress he made, his self-confidence had taken a knock, he told Good Morning America.

“I didn't really think anybody would want to date me, let alone marry me,” he admits.

He met Grace on a dating app last year just as the world went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic. The pair hit it off and discovered they attended the same church.

They started getting together to cook and play games with friends.

"The pandemic played a huge role in how serious we became because we went on the perfect amount of dates where we both felt safe and comfortable," Grace says.

When Josh was ready to pop the question, he wanted to do it the old-fashioned way – on bended knee – but wasn’t sure how he’d manage it. Then he had what he called “a huge idea”.

josh smith, paralysis
Josh was left paralysed after a swimming accident. (Facebook / Josh Smith)

“I didn’t know if it was even possible because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody do it before.”

He wanted to use an exoskeleton suit – a hi-tech suit that enables paralysed people to stand upright and have limited use of their limbs – for the big moment and, after discussing his plans with a physical therapist, they were able to get one.

On the day of the proposal, Grace was surprised to see Josh on his deck, down on one knee.

"It was really cool that he was able to get on one knee. But to see him stand up – I'd never seen him stand before, so that was really great and it was really strange to have him hug me standing up. I wish we could do that more."

The happy couple are planning to tie the knot in October.


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