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'In sickness and in health' | Arkansas couple's journey after paralysis diagnosis

Once paralyzed, Drake Maness is up and walking, but the beauty of this story isn't just that he's walking, but whose been walking by his side through it all.

POTTSVILLE, Ark. — This week high school sweethearts Drake Maness and his girlfriend, Sydney Flippo went on a vacation to Arizona.

 "We've been playing golf and visited the grand canyon," Maness exclaimed.

Though just a few years ago, doctors said that wouldn't have been possible.

"It feels like a miracle every day, I get myself out of bed and do things that most people with the same injury can't do," Maness said.

In 2018, just 3 months after they first began dating, Drake took a dive into Sydney's pool. 

That dive turned into a freak accident when he hit the bottom, and was something that would change his life forever.

"I dove back into the pool, and I'm the one that grabbed him," Flippo said.

She held him until paramedics arrived, and stayed long after anyone expected her to.

"I had so many people telling me... especially after the accident. They were like, 'if he can't move, you won't want to be with him.' And I'm like, well Drake in a wheelchair and Drake without a wheelchair, it's still Drake sitting there," She explained. 

Sydney helped push him through physical therapy in Maryland, saw his first steps on the field he once ran, and also cheered him on as he walked across the stage at graduation.

"Ever since the beginning, she stuck out by me... and she's still right there," Maness said.

 Maness said he's been busy focusing on the positives in his life, "I'm on the go a lot. I like to play golf and hang out with my friends."

And he's happy to get back to taking big swings with the person who's been by his side through it all.

"We've had people come up to us and be like 'y'all looked so familiar.' Now, I'd be like, well, this is our story," Flippo said.

After so many doctors said no, Drake finally got the most important "yes."

A love story they once dreamed of, is one step closer to coming true.

"The night of Drake's accident... my dad woke up the next morning... he said, I had a dream that I was walking down the aisle and drake was standing at the end of it... And so that kind of like told me like, he's my person. I'm meant to be with him," Flippo said.

Credit: KTHV

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