By Rebecca Drew
THIS WOMAN was born disabled after doctors used forceps that broke her spinal cord and after said she would never be able to do anything for herself, but she has proven them all wrong and is now planning her wedding after finding love online.
Direct sales makeup artist, Alyssa Iorio (28) from Blauvelt, New York, USA, suffered an incomplete break of her spinal cord at C1 to C2 when she was born after doctors used forceps to aid the delivery. Alyssa was almost dead when she was born at 9lb and doctors had to get her to intensive care immediately and then spent the first seven months of her life in hospital.
Doctors told Alyssa’s parents that she would never be able to breathe, go to the toilet, talk or even eat on her own but after years of speech, physical and occupational therapy, she has proven them all wrong by achieving everything medical professionals said she wouldn’t.
Growing up, Alyssa wasn’t able to play sports like her peers at school so joined a baseball team for people with disabilities where she later helped coach and has always been determined to show people what she can do as opposed to what she can’t.
In 2012, Alyssa signed up to an online dating site and was initially unsure if she would be able to meet someone for her who could see past her disability. After talking to men who said disgusting things to her purely about sex, Alyssa finally met a man called Jimmy (28) who after a few days of texting asked her out on a date to a bar.
They instantly hit it off and four-and-a-half-years later, Jimmy proposed to Alyssa and they are now planning their wedding which will take place in June this year. In July last year, Alyssa decided to share her story on Instagram and has been using her positive influence to help others in a similar situation to her.
“I, unfortunately, was born with a disability because the doctor used forceps and caused a C1-C2 incomplete break of my spinal cord so that led me to have setbacks in my life,” said Alyssa.
“When I came out, I was basically dead. All black and blue. The doctors and nurses had to incubate me right away.
“Doctors and nurses all said I wouldn’t be able to breathe on my own, go to the bathroom on my own, talk, eat, everything and anything you can possibly name.
“Fast forward almost 28 years later, I fought and fought my whole life to prove doctors, nurses, other people, and especially the doctor who did this to me wrong.
“It is the greatest feeling because they doubted my ability but now I’m showing everyone what I can do, not cannot.
“About five years ago I was on a dating site thinking I’d never find a guy for someone like me who’s disabled. Who am I kidding?
“Having a disability, I never thought I would find a guy that would like me for me and see past my disability.
“I met Jimmy, I don’t really believe in love at first sight, but I knew I liked him as a person and I got to know him more.
“He became my best friend, my number one supporter. He learnt the ins and outs of my disability. He learnt how to take care of my breathing machine, my trach, my wheelchair, and even learnt how to shower me. I basically do everything on my own but no matter what he helps.
“Four-and-a-half-years later he popped the question the day after my birthday. Now we are engaged and planning an amazing wedding.
“People who are disabled can get engaged and married too.”
Alyssa shares her life on Instagram under the handle @wheellifeinthewheelworld and receives messages everyday from people who say that her story has helped them see that anything is possible.
In their spare time, Alyssa and Jimmy love hiking, fishing and travelling, with Alyssa having a strong interest in makeup, fashion and jewellery.
Alyssa spoke about the future and how she has been helping others on social media.
“I want to have a happy and healthy life and to possibly have kids and a nice accessible house,” said Alyssa.
“The idea for my Instagram, honestly just came out of nowhere. I had my own personal Instagram account for a while, but it was a lot of people I went to high school and college with who were following me.
“I decided to make another and grow it to show the world that anything is possible. Those comments and messages I get make me so happy knowing I help others and am an ‘influencer’.
“This is for everyone who is disabled or not; don’t give up. Things may take time but it’s worth the wait, trust me.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/wheellifeinthewheelworld