Surprise engagement finds couple moving past injury - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Surprise engagement finds couple moving past injury

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Aaron Heying and MaeLyn Schwickerath had only been dating for six months when he took her hunting for the first time, in two tree stands, 25 feet above the ground.

"I only had one safety harness, and she had never gone before," Heying, of New Hampton, said. "So I gave her my safety harness."

They'd been up in the tree for a couple hours,when Heying reached to grab his phone.

"Next thing I know, I'm laying on the ground and she's yelling at me," he said.

The fall damaged his spinal cord. Doctors gave him a three percent chance of ever walking again.

After MaeLyn visited him in the hospital, Heying told his mom, 'she's not coming back.'

But she did, again and again, every weekend -- for months.

"When you're in the hospital with someone when they're going through the worst possible situation of their lives, you throw nervousness and all that stuff right out the window," Schwickerath said.

Three years later, they're still together, and Saturday, at a spinal cord injury benefit in Decorah, Heying had a surprise for her -- a proposal.

"MaeLyn -- you mean everything to me," he told her in front of a crowd of people. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

Heying said people see a spinal cord injury as an end to someone's life. But they don't like to think that way.

They don't dwell on what's happened.

"I'm also excited for what the future holds for us," Schwickerath said. "Like I said, it's been a ride. But I wouldn't change it for anything."

Because for these two, a new chapter of their lives -- together -- is just getting started.

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