‘We’re strong for each other’: Port Stephens couple tie the knot after difficult journeys

Candice and Taylor have found strength in each other.

CANDICE and Taylor know better than most how difficult it can be, some days, just to get up in the morning.

“Candice has struggled since she was ten years old with various medical conditions,” says her father, Steve.

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“She was diagnosed with agoraphobia and mental health issues that had her giving up dancing when she was a young girl, something that she loved to do.”

These were the first stirrings of chronic ailments that would continue to create challenges for Candice.

Candice Withey suffers from functional neurological disorder (FND) – a condition which affects the nervous system’s capacity to communicate the brain’s signals to the body.

“She had to learn to walk again,” says Steve.

“She now has a walker and wheelchair to help her get around.”

It is kismet, perhaps, that Candice came to know Taylor – initially as a friend of her brother – who became a support and encouragement alongside the rest of her family.

“Because Taylor was around my brother a lot we got to know each other better and just got closer,” Candice shares of their relationship.

“Taylor was kind to me and was there for me when I would have panic attacks.”

After finishing high school Taylor relocated to Queensland, where he worked for a time as a chicken farmer for Inghams but made an effort to stay connected to Candice and her family.

During this season Taylor was bitten by a white-tailed spider.

“His wound turned necrotic within three days,” Candice’s father, Steve, says of the incident.

“Taylor had to have skin grafts on the affected area.”

Taylor made the decision to return to NSW during the period of his treatment, and found ready support with the Withey family – support he dearly needed as the infection from the spider bite worsened to the point where the necrosis had reached the bone of his foot, which ultimately required amputation.

The period of recovery and rehabilitation for Taylor became an opportunity for the two young people to discover the depths of each others’ love and support.

“We help each other out a lot,” Candice says.

“We’re like yin and yang: Taylor’s strong for me when I can’t be and I’m strong for him when he can’t be.”

Perhaps then, April 20, 2024, will shine all the brighter in their memories, as the day that they tied the knot in a home wedding ceremony.

“An at-home wedding was the perfect wedding for us as we could dictate when we needed to leave.

“I don’t cope well in the afternoon and Taylor isn’t supposed to be on his prosthetic for a long period of time.”

As a proud father, Steve recounts Candice’s determination to plan and organise the wedding herself.

“From her bed she organised the bridal party, cake, catering, flowers, photographer and wedding rehearsal.

“She even put together wedding day booklets for the bridal party.”

The rain on the day couldn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, and even an early mishap for Taylor is viewed with amusement.

“A little morning chaos: Taylor’s prothesis sleeve tore off the socket and we had to use good old duct tape so he could stand at the altar.”

Their union has brought some renewed vision for their shared future, as they dream now of starting a family, and are beginning to plan for ways in which they can more easily be mobile, and potentially facilitate work for Taylor in the future.

By Lindsay HALL

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