A young couple was just starting their new life together, married and enjoying their honeymoon when their future changed in a matter of seconds. 7’s Lynn Martinez shows us how they turned Tragedy into Triumph.
WSVN — Alfredo and Michelle Iglesias were on their honeymoon in Mexico.
Alfredo Iglesias: “Picture perfect, picture perfect day.”
They had their whole lives ahead of them together as they walked on the beach.
Alfredo Iglesias: “We’re walking side by side into the water.”
Alfredo dove in head first.
Alfredo Iglesias: “I guess the bottom, instead of getting deeper, shallowed out, and I rolled my head right on the bottom and snapped my neck. My entire body became limp and I just started floating face down in the water, kind of like a cork on top of the water.”
Alfredo couldn’t breathe, but couldn’t flip himself over to save himself. He remembers praying for Michelle to save him before he drowned.
Alfredo Iglesias: “Stay still and just pray and hope Michelle would see me and just wait.”
At first, Michelle thought he was just kidding around.
Michelle Iglesias: “When I flipped him over I’m like, ‘Stop playing,’ cause I thought it was a joke the whole time.”
Alfredo Iglesias: “I remember mouthing to her, ‘Help me, help me,’ looking into her eyes, but nothing came out.”
That’s when Michelle realized her new husband was dying right in front of her.
Michelle Iglesias: “I started screaming for help and there were two doctors also on their honeymoon and they came running right away and pulled him out.”
Alfredo was rushed to a local hospital where they stabilized him. He was later flown to Miami’s Jackson Trauma Center.
Alfredo would spend six weeks in ICU after being told that he was paralyzed. He stopped breathing twice.
Alfredo Iglesias: “I remember asking for Michelle and thinking that it was going to be the last time I’d tell her vocally, ‘I love you.'”
Michelle Iglesias: “Like at that moment, I knew it was my husband, I knew I loved him.”
Alfredo survived, but doctors said he would never walk again.
Alfredo Iglesias: “We knew our lives were going to change once we got married, but never imagined it would change like this at the honeymoon.”
Five years after the accident, both of their lives have changed dramatically.
Michelle Iglesias: “I’m a better woman. I’m so much stronger than I was five years ago.”
They try and focus on the positive.
Alfredo Iglesias: “Appreciating what you do have instead of worrying about what you don’t have.”
That’s why the couple created iAm Able Fitness, a special gym for people with spinal cord injuries.
Alfredo Iglesias: “The body is not meant to be sitting in a chair for hours upon hours.”
Alfredo knows how important it is to keep your body and your mind strong.
Alfredo Iglesias: “It’s also psychological. It boosts their morale and as clients, we can inspire each other, we can motivate each other.”
Alfredo’s goal is to one day walk again. Until then, he and Michelle hope their story will inspire others. Both agree it’s the unique bond they shared on that tragic day that gives them the strength to carry on together.
Alfredo Iglesias: “It’s my angel sitting right beside me. It’s the love that we have for each other.”
IAm Able Fitness is a non-profit organization that operates through fundraising and community support.
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