The NSW south coast local’s life was hanging in the balance, and even if she did survive, doctors warned Michael that life would never be the same.
But rather than running for the hills, Michael, then just 26, bought an engagement ring so that he could propose to Turia if she survived.
Not only did Turia live, but in the past five-and-a-half years she has defied doctors’ expectations and gone on to complete multiple gruelling physical feats, including the notorious Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii – one of the most challenging competitions in the world – and become an inspiration to millions.
‘He is a living example of the best, most dedicated partner a girl could ever hope to have,’ Turia writes.
‘When people ask me: ‘Did you ever think Michael would leave?” I tell them I never thought it for a moment. Why? Because he was there every day; he came back to me every morning without fail. And when someone is really committed like that, there is no room for doubt.
‘I thought it was really cool how he bought the ring five years ago. I have asked him how he knew I wouldn’t turn out to be useless, a shell of my former self. And he replies: “I just knew who you were and who you would continue to be.”’
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – Out now.
This article first published on New Idea.