Susie Twydell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, and now using a wheelchair, she thought she'd never be able to live out her dream of traveling to Africa to see gorillas in their natural habitat.
Twydell, 40, lives in London, and when she was told a team of porters could carry her in a stretcher up to see gorillas in a Rwandan wildlife park, she immediately started raising money for the trip of a lifetime. Twydell traveled to Rwanda with her husband, David, and as promised, was lifted into a stretcher and carried for 45 minutes up the mountain. She was transferred to a wheelchair and saw a silverback and its babies from just a few yards away.
"It took me by surprise, but it was the No. 1 experience of my life," she told Inside Edition. There are fewer than 1,000 wild mountain gorillas worldwide, and "it was such an amazing privilege" to be able to see a family. At one point, a baby gorilla came up to Twydell and started playing with her shoelaces. "They were clambering all over their silverback father, swinging from overhanging vines, and brilliantly for me, were mesmerized by the sight of a wheelchair in their midst," she said. Catherine Garcia