Tying the Knot, Shepherd-style
Muraad Kennedy knows Shepherd Center was the best place to rehabilitate after his brain injury. It also turned out to be a nice wedding venue.
When Muraad Kennedy sustained a life-changing brain injury in a car crash on July 4, 2022, it seemed inevitable that his August wedding to fiancé Nargis Abdul-Rashid would be delayed. But after four weeks at Grady Memorial Hospital and a transfer to Shepherd Center, Muraad and Nargis posed what they thought might be a long-shot question to Muraad’s case manager, Anastasia Ford, CCM CTRS.
“We asked her if we could still get someone to come to marry us at Shepherd Center,” Nargis says. “She didn’t even hesitate. She said, ‘We can do that.’ And she got it started right then.”
On August 13, 2022, just two days after their planned wedding date, Muraad and Nargis tied the knot in Shepherd Center’s board room. They followed that up with wedding portraits in the Anna and Hays Mershon Secret Garden and a surprise reception with family and friends.
“I thought our officiant was going to come and just do a quick ceremony,” Nargis says. “But when we got there, the nurses and staff had actually set up desserts and drinks and decorations for a reception, too. My mother brought in a cake. We had no idea they were doing all that. They really made it special.”
For the couple, the day provided more than a wedding certificate. It offered hope.
“It was really emotional,” Nargis says. “After Muraad’s injury, I didn’t know if this day would ever happen.”
“Life,” Muraad says. “It showed life was still ahead of us.”
Today, Muraad and Nargis are home in Tucker, Georgia. Muraad continues to use what he learned at Shepherd Center to maximize his recovery, working on exercises to improve his decision-making and his ability to multi-task and find the exact words he wants to say. He has already come incredibly far since the car crash that caused a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and pelvic fracture and also led to a lung infection.
The couple attributes his gains to the customized rehabilitation plan that Shepherd Center created for Muraad as soon as he arrived.
"They’re so dedicated and completely hands-on,” Nargis says. “They make you feel like your loved one’s in the best hands possible. And they’re so committed to each patient’s family, too.”
Muraad is relieved and grateful to be looking forward now. He’s already back at work as a document control specialist and is eager to resume his role as a high school and college basketball referee.
He’s also excited to be home with his wife.
This August, the two will throw a big celebration they’re calling a “second wedding ceremony and first anniversary party” at the venue where they’d planned to wed last year. The guest list is rightfully long.
As for the vows, those come easily, especially after their journey this past year.
“I just appreciate her being her,” Muraad says of his bride. “She’s loving, caring, and down-to-earth. She’s already been there for me when I needed it most.”
“He’s my best friend, my other half,” Nargis says. “When I’m upset, when I’m overwhelmed, he knows how to calm me down and make me laugh. I’m so thankful I still have him.”
Written by Phillip Jordan
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Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, multiple amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. Ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals for rehabilitation and the best in the Southeast, Shepherd Center treats more than 850 inpatients and 7,600 outpatients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.