‘He kissed me on the cheek – while another man pressed a gun into my back and shot me’

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Seven years ago 20-year old Kerryn Fraser and her boyfriend Jarryd went on holiday to Penington on the South Coast to celebrate their two-year anniversary.

On the last evening they were involved in an armed robbery and Kerryn (now 27) was shot in her back. She was left paralysed from her chest down. In April 2016 Kerryn and Jarryd (28) got married in a special ceremony.

Here is her story.

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“My boyfriend (now husband) and I were on holiday in Durban for our 2 year anniversary in September 2009.

We stayed there for a week and the evening before we were leaving we decided to put most of our stuff in the car so that we don’t have to pack in the morning as we were planning on leaving early.

As we opened the door to go to the car four boys who looked to be between the ages of 13 and 17 jumped out of a bush and pulled us back into the flat. The four boys robbed the flat we were staying in for the week and took everything they wanted — including Jarryd’s shoes and belt that he was wearing at the time.

They spoke to us and threatened us which made us very scared. During the entire robbery one of the guys stood next to Jarryd holding a knife against his neck.

And once they were ready to leave one of them came up to me and kissed me on the cheek and said: “Thank you.” As he said that another guy behind me put a gun to my back and shot me.

As soon as I heard the shot I knew I was paralysed. I shouted to Jarryd: “They shot me!”

Jarryd immediately got up and the robbers all ran out of the flat. Jarryd ran outside to find help.

We stayed in a complex but at that time it was quite empty. He found an older couple that came and helped us and also phoned an ambulance. Jarryd picked up his phone to call my dad.

After an hour went by and still no ambulance, the older couple decided to take matters into their own hands and took me to Netcare Kingsway Hospital in Durban.

The bullet went straight through my ribs and broke them. My ribs punctured my lungs and my lungs started filling up with blood.

At this stage I couldn’t breathe and Jarryd put me in the car and we headed to the hospital.”

Seven years have passed and Kerryn has learned to live life to the fullest, even though she can’t move from the chest down.

Through it all, 28-year-old Jarryd, now her husband, has been her rock.

“Jarryd and I love each other more than anything,” she says.

“He never left my side and although this had brought many challenges into our relationship, he has been amazing since the first day.

He still makes me feel like I’m completely normal and beautiful. We got married in April 2016 and it was the best day of my life!

The wedding took place in Pretoria where we live now.” Kerryn’s father Ray says Kerryn has a tremendously strong will and she refused to go down the aisle in her wheelchair.

“I undertook to do something special for her and made a princess carriage for her fairy tale wedding.”

Kerryn, who now works as a customer service centre representative, wanted to have as normal a first dance as possible, so Ray decided to make a platform on wheels that allowed Kerryn to stand upright and move around the dance floor for her first dance.

“The dancing device was made out of the back slabs that I got made after the incident to help me stand. The slbs go under your feet to the top of your thigh.

My dad made a frame for the back slabs out of wood and put wheels on it. My core is quite strong so with just holding onto their hand or around their neck I can stand up straight.

Jarryd pulled me around the dance floor for our first dance as a married couple. My dad built the carriage on his own and it’s the most beautiful thing and made me feel like a real princess on my wedding day.

Since the incident we have been skydiving, cage diving with great white sharks, swimming with dolphins, snorkelling, zip lining, and many other things. Nothing is impossible for us.”

This story was submitted to YOU by one of our readers and has been minimally edited. Do you have an incredible story to tell? E-mail Pam.magwaza@you.co.za