Allyson Roach was badly burned in the wildfires of 2003. She's overcome incredible adversity on her road to recovery and now she's a newlywed. Chris Watson and Allyson Roach were married January 3, 2009. They got back from their honeymoon Saturday night and are still basking in marital bliss.
"It's one of those things you keep thinking somebody pinch me before I keep dreaming forever. I guess it still hasn't quite sunk in just yet," Allyson Watson said.
Allyson suffered burns to more than 80 percent of her body escaping the Paradise Fire in October of 2003. Her younger sister died. Allyson said after 27 surgeries and a year of physical therapy she met Chris, the man of her dreams.
Allyson was a souvenir photographer at the Wild Animal Park where Chris Watson works as a groundskeeper. The two met in November, 2007. Allyson said at first she didn't know why Chris wanted to date her.
“This is an environment of beautiful tans and bikinis and muscles and to have scars and no fingers and half of one ear it doesn't really put you up on the beauty standard so to speak," Allyson said.
But Allyson said Chris told her the thought of her physical appearance never crossed his mind. Chris said he was attracted to Allyson’s confidence and inner beauty.
"I really liked her laugh and her smile. I decided I'd try and get to know her better," Chris said.
Several months after Chris and Allyson had been dating, Chris asked Allyson to be his wife. Allyson said she was surprised but quickly said "yes." With the help of a jeweler, Chris designed a diamond engagement ring especially for Allyson. It dangles on a delicate bracelet that Allyson wears around her left wrist.
"When he surprised me with this idea I fell in love with it immediately, because not only was it a really good idea but it was his idea which made it all the more special," Allyson said.
Nearly 400 guests attended the Escondido wedding and the couple is still dreaming about their honeymoon, a cruise through the Hawaiian islands.
Allyson said although her life is filled with joy, she still struggles with the tragedy that left her disfigured. But she said she tries to look forward.
"It is very hard to put a tragedy or trauma behind you. I can still see my sister's face when I go to sleep at night. I can still hear her voice telling me she was scared and she wanted someone to help her get out. That still haunts me…But you need to try your hardest to put it behind you and go on with your life because it's just something bad that happened once. Just a bad thing that happened once," Allyson said.
The Watsons are living in Escondido. Allyson is studying to become a photographer.