Giveaway Winners: Martina and AJ

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Remember how I was involved with this great wedding giveaway? Well the winners were voted upon, and this oh-so-deserving couple won!

I'll post more of their engagement pictures later, but I just wanted you to have a chance to get to know them first. So, grab a tissue and get ready to meet one of the sweetest couples of all time:

AJ and I met three years ago while doing one of the things we love most—
serving others. This was no ordinary encounter because this service project was
defined by my Cambodian heritage and my religion. As we helped translate English
and Khmer for missionaries going out into the field, a connection began between us.
AJ admitted he was shy to ask me out and only with the extra push of a friend did he
garner the courage to ask me out on our first date. So much has happened since the
pitter-patter of our hearts began during those first realizations that there was
something special between us.
Over our first year of dating, our love and ability to support each other
through thick and thin grew and manifested itself through typical events and
activities of college students, such as school projects, finals, and meeting each
other’s families. Yet nothing could prepare us for the challenge that we would
encounter in our second year of dating.
Our relationship grew exponentially when tragedy struck on February 5,
2009, the day that I was involved in a snowboarding accident. I went off a jump too
fast and fell flat on my back after rolling around a few times. I hit the hard and icy
surface with such force that I was rushed to the hospital on life-flight, barely
conscious. AJ was notified and he was there at the hospital as the helicopter landed.
The doctors prepared to conduct surgery on me immediately. As I drifted in and out
of consciousness, our fear of the prognosis increased because neither AJ nor I knew
what to expect. Two days later, when I was conscious again, I learned of the severity
of my fall’s impact. I had shattered aspects of my vertebrae, and severed my spinal
cord. I would not be able to walk for an uncertain amount of time.
I struggled with my new reality at first, spending many days in the hospital
crying in despair. I lost a lot of hope and questioned things in my life. I had a hard
time grasping how I would be able to pursue my life goals, or how I would continue
with my life after this accident in such, what I thought were at the time, unbearable,
life-changing conditions. The lowest point of my life was when my doctor came to
me and declared my injury, permanent.
I had my bouts of depression, feeling alone and hurt in this experience, as
everything was happening so fast. But I realized how lucky I was because AJ was
always there by my side. He came to visit me everyday. He even sat in the waiting
room on the difficult days when I did not want to see or talk to anyone. He was
always there to encourage me and help remind me that miracles occurred in
different forms. He helped me realize that the miracle of this incident was being
able to find myself during my darkest days, overcoming this obstacle, and also
becoming a stronger person. While even some of my extended family members had
their doubts about our relationship because of my physical state, our relationship
grew stronger nonetheless. We have learned how to handle new challenges and
have become each other’s greatest companion.
It has been almost two years since my accident. I continue to struggle with
miniscule tasks of daily life, such as getting in and out of the house and using the
restroom, which is why I often rely on AJ to help me with these daily tasks. He has
been quite positive and eager to learn how he can help me, and he tries his best to
accommodate me. Being with AJ through this life-changing obstacle has made all
the difference, and ultimately, our love has served as armor, shielding us from the
storm ahead.


Lacey Jay said...

Oh jess, what a beautiful story! Can't wait to see more pictures:) Thanks for sharing!

Allison said...

I voted for them! Andrew knows him, though not well, so we knew when this happened and now I'm so glad that they are still together and won. What a deserving couple!

Kim said...

She was in one of my classes at BYU! I love Martina! I'm so happy for them! She is such a trooper and such an amazing person! I had no idea her accident was just a couple years ago. Thanks for sharing Jessie!

Tinakim88 said...

This picture is so lovely! I can't wait to see the rest!! Thank you! Thank you!!

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