A soldier flew 400 miles to her hometown and offered to be her date after learning that his friend’s teenage daughter with Down syndrome didn’t have a date to the prom.
When physicians informed Emily Wheeler’s mother that she had Down’s syndrome, Emily was only six weeks old. Her mother also discovered as she grew older that she wasn’t normal as other kids. She struggled with learning.
Wheeler was deaf, but she was able to learn sign language and converse with people with ease. She is skilled at communicating her ideas and expressing her emotions.
The prom was held at college.
When Wheeler reached 18, she had to attend her college’s prom, but she was unable to find a date. She had no idea at that point that her stepfather’s buddy, Andrew Duffy, would make the trip from Berwick-upon-Tweed to her house in Devon, which is located in the United Kingdom.
Wheeler and Duffy first met during Duffy’s mother’s wedding in 2014, and when Duffy found out that she didn’t have a prom date in 2016, he immediately knew what to do. He took a flight from the Edinburg Airport to Bristol, then taking a car to Wheeler’s residence. He recalled:
“When I heard she had no one to take her to prom, I was really upset for her – who wouldn’t want to take her?”
A Prom Date for Her
Having served in Iraq, Duffy is a veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was pleased to serve his nation, but he had no idea that his time in the military would cause him to suffer from emotional anguish.
On June 16, 2016, he showed up at Wheeler’s house and gave her flowers while inviting her to the prom. The teen had her sister give her a makeover for the event, and she looked stunning in a sweet blue outfit.
She Saved His Life
Wheeler was chosen as prom queen later that evening. Although Duffy was pleased that she accompanied him to prom, he subsequently clarified that he wasn’t doing so to acquire notoriety.
“I don’t think I’d be here today if it wasn’t for her. I can honestly say that girl saved my life, “stated he. Wheeler, according to Duffy, always had a positive influence on his life. He thought the girl had allayed all his concerns.
Duffy frequently felt anxious and required support due to his PTSD, and spending time with Wheeler helped him cope with his illness. He thought that taking her to the prom altered his course of events, and said:
“Being around people like Emily makes you understand there is life outside your own problems.”
He Feels Proud
The time that Duffy spent serving his country was, in his opinion, the most rewarding experience of his life. In addition to that, he considered that the fact that he had taken Wheeler to the prom was another item of which he felt extremely proud.
After spending time with Wheeler, Duffy had the impression that she “absorbed” some form of negative energy, which he believed was the cause of his improved mood. He now feels that spending time with persons who have Down syndrome can be therapeutic for others who are battling PTSD or other disorders of a similar nature.
Her Mother’s Reaction
Vikki Findlay, Wheeler’s mother, experienced a surge of positive emotions as she observed Duffy being friendly to her daughter. She was aware that her daughter possessed a unique quality that caused people to gush over her affection.
Findlay went on to say that Wheeler was always overjoyed to see Duffy, and the most incredible thing about the way these two got along is that Wheeler had no idea that she was assisting the veteran in his recovery.