What is love? For us, it’s a journey that stems from trust, friendship, and understanding. It’s unconditional and pure. It challenges us and tests our faith, but we always remain true. Our names are Brad and Noelle, and we are an inter-abled couple.
In July 2011, while living in Hawaii, Brad was hit by a drunk driver. He was only 20 years old. The accident left him with limited mobility and the diagnosis of C5 quadriplegia. Brad decided to remain positive. He focused his energy on music, photography, and rehab at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital. As time passed, Brad was certain that he would never date again. He didn’t think he could find love in his new body. Boy, was he wrong! Turns out, online dating works. We’ve been together for three years and counting.
As an inter-abled couple, we’ve dealt with stares and have been asked inappropriate questions about our relationship. “How do you guys have sex?” is one that comes to mind. It sometimes seems like the world has never seen an inter-abled couple. In April 2018, we turned our frustrations and into positivity. We created Wheellifestories, an Instagram page that highlights wheelchair users showing off their athleticism to simply living a normal, happy life. We are very proud.
On this Valentine’s Day, we hope that everyone realizes that they are loved. Love is different for us all, and comes in many forms: romance, friendship, and support from family. That is true love. Cherish them all, treat everyone with kindness and respect, and most of all, have a happy Valentine’s Day.
Photo: Brad Maccabe, Noelle Heath, and Makayla Heath