26-year-old Shane Burcaw from Pennsylvania was born with a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
He has used a wheelchair since he was a toddler.
Three years ago, Shane received a message from Hannah Aylward, 23, after she saw a documentary that Rainn Wilson produced about his life. Oh, and yes, she is now his girlfriend.
Their relationship bloomed and they now run a YouTube account ‘Squirmy and Grubs’ to let people know about their interabled life.
Hannah from Minnesota never mentioned his disability when she first messaged him three years ago. In the email, she praised Shane, who attends talks and writes books about his disability, on his great sense of humor and his writing before telling him she thought he was cute.
“I knew right away that I needed to know this person,” Shane expressed. “I’ll never forget the way my heart felt so light and beat so rapidly as I willed my atrophied fingers to type out a response as quickly as they could manage.”
Their relationship blossomed and they realized they were already in love with each other. Hannah visited Shane in Pennsylvania and they wanted to make their long-distance relationship work.
Last year, the couple moved in together in Minnesota, so Hannah could finish up her studies at a university. They also created vlogs for YouTube as a method to better inform people about their relationship.
“Our goal is to normalize disability and relationships like ours,” Shane expressed.
The vlogs started 6 months ago but their account already has 120,000 subscribers.
“When Hannah and I are out in public together, strangers routinely assume that we are siblings, or that she is my paid caregiver, or even worse, my mom,” Shane said.
“Because of my disability and my wheelchair, people have a hard time seeing us as boyfriend and girlfriend.
“There are a variety of damaging stigmas surrounding disability, but one of the most pervasive ideas is that people with a disability are incapable or unworthy of romantic relationships.”
In an old post, he mentioned that he is ‘perfectly capable of having sex.’
He wrote at the time: “I get boners and my boners shoot sperm, so having kids is a real option.”
Even though negative comments always come their way, many people praise the two for working to break down ideas about disabilities. They also won’t let anything or anyone get in their love!
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