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Groom-to-be aims to walk down aisle
Fundraiser to help recovery from clot
Josh Weatherford with his fianc, Kelly Patterson, plans to walk down the aisle in April during their wedding after a blood clot left him paralyzed in June. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

Want to help?

A benefit event for Josh Weatherford will be from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at 6550 Bannister Road. Admission is $5 and additional donations will be accepted with all proceeds going to Weatherford’s medical costs. For more information, contact Edwina Weatherford at (404) 702-1355.

Like most young men, Josh Weatherford wants to walk his bride down the aisle after their wedding ceremony.

However, for Weatherford that will be a bigger challenge than for most. The 25-year-old has been paralyzed from the chest down since June 14, when he suffered a blood clot in his spinal column.

Weatherford, a native of north Forsyth, said he was filling out his time sheet before going home from his job at Atlanta Gas Light when he felt “a little funny.”

“I went to get up and I just couldn’t move my legs or anything,” he said, noting that he was alone when the incident happened. “I fell out of the chair on the floor and just laid there for a while. Then for some reason, it was like somebody flipped a switch and everything went away and I got up and walked outside.”

But once Weatherford got into his personal vehicle to drive home, he said “it happened again.”

“And I haven’t been able to move anything since then.”

Weatherford called 911 and was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, where he immediately went into surgery.

Doctors couldn’t explain why Weatherford had the blood clot since they typically don’t occur unless the patient has had some sort of injury or a previous surgery. Weatherford had neither before the blood clot formed.

He spent more than a month at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, learning to function in a wheelchair.

His family and fiancé, Kelly Patterson, to whom Weatherford has been engaged since last November and dated for six years, have been right by his side throughout the ordeal.

Together, they have organized a fundraiser to help pay for additional therapy that Weatherford wants to be able to complete in hopes of being able to walk down the aisle with Patterson in April.

“There’s more advanced therapy down at Shepherd that I want to go to, but it’s $100 an hour and insurance doesn’t cover it because it’s not considered medically necessary,” he said. “It’s usually nine hours a week, so it’s about $900 a week.”

Edwina Weatherford, Josh’s aunt, said the family has been happy to plan the benefit, which will be from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at 6550 Bannister Road.

“He and my son are 13 months apart, so they have grown up being closer than brothers,” she said. “Josh is very dedicated to his work, very dedicated to his family. He’s just a fine young man, so we want to help him as much as we can.”

The event will feature performances by The Bourbon Cowboys, a local band made up of two of Josh Weatherford’s cousins, as well as kids’ activities, food, raffles, 50/50 cash drawing and motorcycle and car show.

Admission is $5 per person and additional donations will be accepted. All funds raised will go toward Weatherford’s medical costs.

Edwina Weatherford said the entire north Forsyth community has rallied to help her nephew.

“[Our neighbors] are letting us use their property for the fundraiser. It’s just been amazing how people have offered to help. It’s just been, ‘What can I do?’” she said.

Josh Weatherford has been touched by the outpouring of generosity from his community.

“It makes me feel good knowing that a lot of people care, and not just people who are real close to be but just people in general,” he said. “A lot of people I don’t even know that good are stepping up and doing a lot of stuff. It means a lot.”