DALLAS - Prosper newlyweds have been on a challenging journey at the start of their life together.
Nikki Lewis broke her neck while boogie boarding during the couple's honeymoon in Hawaii. Coincidentally, a paramedic from Arizona also on vacation was there to treat her until first responders arrived.
The couple had not had an opportunity to thank the paramedic him face to face until Friday evening. The opportunity was a surprise.
Nicki calls the paramedic who saved her life a hero.
Nick has been in the hospital for nearly two months. At first, it was looking like she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Now, she's learning to walk again.
It's an emotional moment that was weeks in the making. A Prosper woman who was paralyzed while on her honeymoon in Hawaii got to meet the stranger who helped save her life.
It was a surprise reunion disguised as a birthday party that was planned by her new husband.
Nicki was boogie boarding with her new husband, Will, in the waters of Maui on September 12 when a large wave slammed her head into the sand and broke her neck in two places.
A photo was snapped by a beachgoer.
“There was four- to eight-foot waves slamming into the back of us,” Will recalled. “We were trying to protect her from that cause you know she was clearly paralyzed.”
Chad Harkins is an EMT from Arizona. He just happened to be on the beach when the accident happened. Harkins could tell from the lifeless look in Nicki’s eyes that she was paralyzed, and he got to work.
“Your eyes just said a million words and expressions at one time,” Harkins told Nicki.
“With his skill in taking care of my neck. I have the recovery of… hopefully going to 100 percent recovery,” Nicki said.
After spending weeks in the hospital in Hawaii, Nicki was flown back to Dallas in October. She has been at the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas as she learns to walk again.
It's something doctor weren't sure would ever happen. Because of Harkins, she will.
If all goes well, Nicki should be released from the hospital in about a month.
The couple plans to take another honeymoon once Nicki is fully recovered. Both agree that it won't be back in Hawaii.