TODAY | March 30, 2012
>>> friday morning, on "today's" update, the young woman who was barrelized in an accident at her bachelorette party . we're going to talk to rachelle chapman and her husband in a moment. but first we caught up with rachelle at project walk, a rehab facility in san diego , dedicated to helping people with spinal cord injuries . this is another milestone for rachelle chapman, standing and walking with the help of specialized machines.
>> i feel a big difference. i'm obviously not walking, but i mean my upper body is infinitely stronger. my core is getting stronger, which helps me so much in my daily life.
>> reporter: this is rachelle's second visit here. she's already seeing signs of progress.
>> it certainly doesn't feel like it used to feel. but it brings it back, makes your mind remember when it felt like to stand up.
>> reporter: it's been nearly two years since rachelle's life was changed forever. it happened at her bachelorette party when one of her friends playfully pushed her into a swimming pool. she ended up with a c-6 spinal cord injury , paralyzed from the collar bone down. since then she's gotten married to her longtime sweetheart. honeymooned in fiji and had her house remodeled to be more wheelchair accessible . but there's still a lot left to accomplish and therapist kimberly davis says rachelle's positive outlook is helping her succeed.
>> her laugh is infectious. her attitude is second to none. if she's not able to perform an exercise she never gets frustrated. she only works, what do we need to work on for me to be successful.
>> reporter: davis says while being able to walk is again the ultimate goal, it's not the only one.
>> you think, okay, you're paralyzed when will you be able to walk again. what about when will you be able to brush your teeth again? when will you be able to get out of the chair on her own and get into bed on her own?
>> reporter: and just like a lot of young wives, rachelle says she and chris are hoping to add to their family. her therapist and friend says that's what she's working toward, as well.
>> to be able to start a family would be one of my biggest goals for rachelle. not only because i know how important it is for her, but i believe that she deserves that. and i know that she and chris would be wonderful parents.
>> rachelle and chris chapman , good morning to both of you.
>> good morning.
>> good morning.
>> last time we talked to you you were just back from fiji. so you sort of experienced your first year of marriage together. more or less challenging than you thought?
>> i mean, we've been together for six years. i kind of have the hang of him. so we're good.
>> how about for you?
>> it's been wonderful. we had the opportunity to do so many things. we just keep working.
>> i've got to tell you the part that struck me the most in that tape was you standing upright, with the help again of assistance, being able to sort of put one foot in front of the other. what did that feel like for you?
>> it's so hard to explain. but i mean, it feels amazing. i would have never even had the opportunity to go there without walking with anthony, which is an organization that sent me there. and i mean, to have the opportunity to be able to go to a place like that, and stand, i mean, it's so good for your body.
>> you talk about baby steps. what sorts of changes have you seen in terms of improvement for you and how you get your mobility and how you get around things like that?
>> oh, gosh. i mean, i'm pushing up ramps so much better. just my upper body is a lot better. i don't look weak, i look strong and i'm able to sit up better and do things on my own a lot more.
>> and driving a car. i mean --
>> that was surprising. i said wow, this girl is behind the wheel. tell us about how that came about.
>> well, it is scary at first because you have to drive with your hands, not with your feet. but i mean, i was right out on the road, and i'm excited to drive my new van that i got. i'm so excited.
>> how is she at driving?
>> i'm a little nervous. i'm a little nervous. but i think it 's wonderful . this is a big step towards independence. i've gotten very protective of her, obviously, since the accident but i think it's really exciting. it will be great.
>> you don't waste a second, rachelle. i can point out. you're always busy. you're talking about writing a book. i love the working title .
>> with a possible title, i like the idea of calling it hot, sexy and rolling on 24s. it's not just the story of my life , it's my, you know, my injury and us but also a story about you can be sexy and you can pretty in a wheelchair. you can have confidence, you know. we're just normal people, and no matter what -- no matter who you are or what situation you're in you can have confidence.
>> one of the other things you're doing, you have a children's book basically to show kids, we only have a couple of seconds, but it helps children understand spinal cord injuries and it's called "new opportunities." we want to thank both of you for coming. we're so happy that you're feeling better.
>> thank you.