SPECIAL MOMENT: Jamie Datlen's goal this year is to walk his daughter Felicia down the aisle on her wedding day next month.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Jamie Datlen's goal this year is to walk his daughter Felicia down the aisle on her wedding day next month. Mike Knott BUN050419WALK1

BIG DAY: Father's battle to walk daughter down aisle

IT'S tradition for a father to walk his daughter down the aisle and Jamie Datlen is determined to make that happen without assistance.

Three years ago Mr Datlen suffered a major stroke on his right side which significantly impacted his mobilisation and independence.

He said when he was in hospital it could barely walk at all.

Mr Datlen's wife Rhonda said after months in hospital, it was a struggle for him to stand for more than 30 seconds, but with a positive approach to physiotherapy and assistance from the NDIS, she said he had made considerable improvements.

She said Jamie's goal for this year's NDIS package was to walk his daughter Felicia a few meters down the aisle without his walking stick.

"When I thought about it in hospital I just thought it was the right thing to do," he said.

He said being a tradition it would mean a lot to be able to do.

Mr Datlen's goal also includes being able to take his grandchildren to the park.

Mrs Datlen said Felicia's godfather was to walk her down the aisle for the first length and Mr Datlen would do the final few metres and give her away.

"He's working really hard to do that," she said.

Mr Datlen typically uses his walking stick or wheelchair to get about and while he could make it down the aisle with the walking stick, he wanted to do it without.

His wife said the stroke came out of the blue. He came out of the toilet and started staggering.

"In the doorway there I thought I tripped over my thong at first and staggered around the end of the coffee table," he said describing how he collapsed on the ground before his son picked him up and put him on the lounge.

Mr Datlen sees a physiotherapist once a week and goes to also goes to the gym weekly. Then there's also physio at home.

"We've worked up to walking about 100m up and down the hallway a day, so that's pretty good," Rhonda said.

"That's aided by the stick, but it's about building up endurance and not being so exhausted."

They said they have been working with carer Shaun Callaghan and physio Trevor McLaren from Active Physiotherapy Solutions and praised the staff at the hospital who helped.

Felicia said it would mean a lot to have her father walk her down the aisle. Her sea-side wedding is on May 25. She said they were having a local, unplugged ceremony.



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