"Adventure seeker who likes to have a good time. I overcame physical challenges by skiing and walking marathons."

That's how the online ad read. She reluctantly placed it with an online dating service because she was tired of being alone.

Actually, her sister submitted it because it's difficult for her to write. Her right hand is paralyzed, along with the whole right side of her body after she had a stroke at the age of 18. The stroke also robbed her of the ability to speak.

While her classmates and friends were dating college football players and planning springtime bridal showers, she was lying in a rehabilitation hospital advised she might never walk again.

As a little girl, she'd dreamed of being married and having babies some day. But now she was nearing 50 years old and she'd come to terms with reality.

That wasn't going to happen for her and now all she wanted was a companion. She wanted someone to go to the movies with or out for a cup of her favorite Dunkin' Donuts coffee. She wasn't looking for promises, and she might even settle for something lesser than love. But loneliness was a friend she no longer wanted hanging around.

She wasn't sure what to expect from an online dating service. "Everyone" was doing it, but how many men out there would understand her challenges?

With a lot of hard work and years of physical therapy, she'd learned to walk again. Even more years of speech therapy taught her to talk again.


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But she found the words difficult and she often felt tongue-tied and nervous on the phone. How would she get a date?

As blessings do, the answer came unexpectedly. A man who responded to her bio was several years older and also liked "adventures and having a good time." He also knew what it was like to overcome physical challenges.

Several years ago, he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. After the accident, he struggled to walk again. Now fit with a prosthetic leg, he was able to get around and he was also looking for a companion.

Their first date was at a coffee shop. Her whole family worried: Could she trust him? What was he looking for? Did he have a sincere interest in dating her? Would he break her heart?

Well, that was five years ago and right now they're on a true adventure -- tying the knot in Last Vegas! They've learned they complete each other. Just watching them slow dance, a delicate act with two able legs balancing a whole couple, is a metaphor for their relationship. While he's a talker, she's a listener. And they both love adventures and understand physical challenges. To see them together, giggling like little kids is beautiful.

At 53 years old, my wonderful big sister has finally found her other half.

Gail Huff is reporter at WGBH-Boston (Channel 2). Please send comments to ghuffbrown@gmail.com.