Sophie Delezio has had to undergo more than 100 operations since a car crashed into her Sydney daycare centre when she was a toddler and, just last week, she revealed yet another setback – but the brave burns survivor with a big heart is determined to walk down the aisle and marry her "amazing fiancé".
The inspirational 22-year-old has spent the past seven weeks slowly recovering from major and complicated surgery on her "dodgy" left knee, so she can fulfil her dream of tying the knot to childhood sweetheart Joseph Salerno, 23.
Wearing a beanie, white jumper, and her beautiful platinum and diamond engagement ring, Sophie beams with excitement and joy, despite being temporarily in a wheelchair.
"Thank you so much for all the love and support you guys have sent me over the past few days," she tells her fans. "It has been really beautiful to read all your lovely messages and it really does help in the recovery process.
"I injured myself way too many times while travelling last year and it finally caught up with me. I made the quick and immediate decision to have surgery to fix my dodgy knee, so I could definitely walk down the aisle."
As a toddler, Sophie was left with third-degree burns to 85% of her body after the horrific accident, which saw her make headlines worldwide. She had to learn to live without both of her feet, a number of fingers and one of her ears, before tragedy struck again just three years later, when she was hit by a car and thrown 18m while in her wheelchair on a pedestrian crossing.
Her indomitable spirit captured hearts all over the globe and this latest hurdle will allow her to have the wedding of her dreams next year to "best friend" Joseph, who she met in Year 9.
When Sophie finally felt well enough last week to share her news, she gave a "huge shout-out" to Joseph, describing him as "the most amazing fiancé", adding, "I couldn't have gone through all this without you."
Sophie decided to have the "very necessary surgery" after suffering months of pain because of injuries she suffered during an incredible extended trip through 26 different countries with Joseph last year.
"I'm now six weeks post-op and it has been such an adventure, but one that I know will be so worth it," says Sophie. "Right now, I'm on my wheels [wheelchair] and loving it.
I feel like I have a bit more independence back, which is the most important feeling in the world."
With this latest major operation behind her and a rehab programme in place, Sophie says she's finally "looking up" and has even moved into a new home with Joseph as they both prepare to tie the knot in about 12 months.
Sophie gave Woman's Day readers a sneak peek at her wedding plans after Joseph proposed on Valentine's Day in February, revealing that she and her groom have already chosen a romantic wedding venue in the Hunter Valley, just outside of Sydney.
"When you've experienced so much of life and so much hardship, you know what matters and you know what you want," she said. "Why not just take the beautiful moments and hold on to them?"
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