Gabrielle Giffords's Personal Story

Gabrielle Giffords's Personal Story

He's the American hero keeping vigil at the bedside of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her loving husband Mark Kelly.

The navy pilot is an  NASA astronaut who has traveled to space three times. He is set to blast off again in April as commander of the final mission of the American space shuttle. 

Kelly's identical twin brother Scott Kelly is also an astronaut. He's actually in outer space today and observed a moment of silence along with President Obama and the First Lady for his critically wounded sister-in-law from the International Space Station.  

Giffords and Kelly met in 2003 as part of goodwill mission to China. For their first date she took him on a tour of an Arizona state prison

"Mark is the son of police officers. He just really wanted to sit in the chair," Giffords once joked.

They married in 2007. The bride wore a borrowed Vera Wang gown and the groom sported his formal military whites.  

Kelly had Giffords's wedding ring inscribed with the words "You're the closest to heaven that I've ever been," a line from the Goo Goo Dolls hit "Iris."

The pretty 40-year-old congresswoman is an avid horse rider who loves motorcycles. She is a proud gun owner, even posting photos of herself with weapons.   

Giffords is also said to be an adoring step-mom, who loves spending time with Kelly's two daughters from his previous marriage.

"Just last Thursday, Gabby Giffords read the First Amendment of the Constitution on the floor of the House after being sworn in for her third term in Congress. She seeked out a narrow victory in the intense campaign, and now she's fighting for her life."

Neurosurgeon Dr. Ed Kornel explained, "The worst case scenario, the bullet entered low down on the skull and came out low down."

Medical experts say Gifford's longterm prognosis depends on where exactly in her brain she was shot.   By this type of injury her speech, eyesight and movement can all be effected.

Giffords recently opened up about her husband's dangerous career saying, "I'm always on pins and needles wondering, 'Will this be the last conversation I am going to have with my husband?' "   

But she is the one who finds herself battling a life-threatening injury.

Kelly said in a statement, "Gabby was doing what she loved most when this tragedy occurred. Serving Arizonans is her passion, and nothing makes her more proud."