AUSTIN -- This Valentine’s Day, an Austin couple shares their story of love, commitment and generosity.
KVUE first reported on Kellie Mandley and Luke Hsiao in 2011, after Mandley was severely injured in a car crash, suffering a spinal cord injury. Hsiao stayed by her side, nursing her back to health and helping with her physical therapy.
Shortly after the accident, Hsiao got on bended knee and proposed to Mandley while she was in the hospital. The two had dated for seven years before the accident, meeting their freshman year at Texas A&M University.
"He swept me off my feet. That’s how it all started,” said Mandley.
"I just wanted to get to know more about her the second I saw her,” said Hsiao.
Mandley uses a wheelchair, and Hsiao is her primary caregiver, helping her with everyday things from cooking dinner to doing her hair.
"Spinal cord injuries affect a lot more than just your legs. She has limited dexterity in her fingers," said Hsiao.
Mandley has endured hundreds of hours of physical therapy continuing to keep her outgoing, upbeat attitude, and she is now ready to tie the knot.
"I’m finally more confident. I’m building my strength and becoming more independent," said Mandley.
After the story of their engagement aired on KVUE in 2011, wedding planner Donna Gostecnik offered to plan their wedding for free.
"The fact Luke has stayed with her and been an integral part of her recovery is just, you just don’t see that these days,” said Gostecnik.
She contacted wedding businesses in Austin who are donating everything for free to make the couple’s day special.
This week they discussed their groom’s cake and tasted flavors at Sweet Treet’s Bakery.
"It’s such a sad but sweet story, and I’m the type of person once I found out what a fighter she is, I had to help out,” said Sweet Treet’s Bakery owner Jackie McGrath.
"I’m just so happy. I don’t think I would be planning a wedding if it weren’t for everyone else," said Mandley.
Vista West Ranch is providing the wedding venue and reception area. Pink Avocado is providing the catering. Alfred Angelo donated Mandley's wedding dress. Blonde Faith Salon is providing a stylist. Teri Palmer is doing her make-up. Petal Pushers is donating flowers. Hill Country Cupcakes are doing the main wedding cake. Premiere Party Central and Le’Sha Designs are donating rental equipment. Marci Palmer is doing the photography. Obi Ariguzo is the videographer. Musical Discovery Chamber is providing wedding music and ProMusic DJs is providing the reception music. Central Texas J Booth is donating a photo booth.
The couple still need a place to hold their rehearsal dinner, a limousine, hotel rooms and a tuxedo for the groom. Contact Donna Gostecnik at her website, The Wedding Belles to donate.
The wedding is set for Sept. 14, 2014.