Ipswich: Bride-to-be prepares for wedding after two operations

IT is the day every bride-to-be dreams of.

But when Alice Swallow’s fianc� Ryan Harrison popped the question on Christmas Day her joy was tainted.

She scoured the internet to look for wedding dresses but knew until her operations she would not set foot inside a wedding dress shop.

Agonising rheumatoid arthritis ravaging her joints for 14 years left Miss Swallow, of Hyperion Court, Ipswich, unable to bend her arms – her elbows had been fused at about 90 degrees since the couple first got together around three years ago.

But today, after two elbow replacement operations – she was one of the youngest patients in the UK to under go the procedure, according to her surgeon – she has finally stepped inside a wedding dress shop.


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“I have found my dress,” said the delighted 24-year-old.

“I tried it on and I knew straight away it’s the one. The one in the pictures was a close second.”

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She told how the operations have changed her life.

“It is like having new arms, the arms I always wanted,” she added.

“I didn’t want to imagine it would feel this good, in case it didn’t live up to my expectations. I can wash my hair on my own, take change in a shop without dropping it , hold Ryan’s hand – lots of little things people take for granted.

“Now I have my new arms I want to show them off.”

Looking ahead to March next year when she will tie the knot with Mr Harrison, who she said has been her “rock” throughout her painful ordeal, Miss Swallow said she could not wait for the day to come.

“Ryan has been amazing, he is one in a million,” added the customer service adviser at Haven Power.

“When I was in hospital he was by my bedside from morning until they kicked him out. He has been an absolute star.

“I want to thank all my friends and family and my work for being so supportive.

“I can’t wait for March. I know I will be crying before I start walking down the aisle.”

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