The Bionic Bride

UPDATED 06/07/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/07/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT

Ally Smith sees herself in her taffeta gown, staring back in the mirror-and tears up. "I thought," she says, "this was never going to happen."

Just last year Ally, 22, was planning her funeral: A strep throat had led to a broader infection that left the Richmond, Texas, student in advanced heart failure. In an eight-hour surgery, doctors implanted a revolutionary new version of a life-saving heart pump. Miniaturized with a lightweight and extra-long-lasting battery pack, it has helped some 4,000 patients like Ally resume their lives; otherwise she might at best have been on a heart-transplant waiting list for years. "Without this," says Ally's physician Dr. Roberta Bogaev, "Ally would be dead. Now she has a great life."

While the former competitive swimmer can't go back in the pool (the tubing leading to the battery pack can't be submerged), Ally can do just about everything else-most important, march down the aisle June 26 in her gown and leather cowboy boots. "No one," says fiancé Mike Babineaux, 24, "can replace her."

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters