On June 17, 1989, Don and Lorraine stood at the altar and promised to love each other for the rest of their lives, both in the good times and the rough. But what the couple didn’t know then was that the part about difficult times would soon become a reality.
The couple’s marriage started out as happy as could be. They had three wonderful children and worked side by side on the farm they ran together.
Then, everything changed in 1995, when Don was diagnosed with ALS, a nerve disorder that leads to muscle wasting and paralysis.
Don’s physical condition became progressively worse and after five years, he lost his ability to speak. But Lorraine never left her husband’s side. She remained true to the promise she had made to him on their wedding day, and she learned everything she needed to know to run the company and take care of her husband.
But what pained Lorraine the most was that she could no longer talk with her life partner. So, in a desperate attempt to be able to communicate at all, she made a letter board for her husband to spell out words with. The idea was that Don could look at a letter at a time and Lorraine could figure out the word he was trying to form.
The solution was not optimal—it took forever to figure out the words Don was spelling. But as frustrating as it was, Don’s letter board proved to be the beginning of something much better. Lorraine later got in touch with a man named Mick Ebeling, who develops devices to assist people with various disabilities.
Mick and his team then created software that sped up Don’s process of spelling words with his eyes. And the best part? The software verbalized Don’s messages. So after 15 years of silence, Don finally got a voice again!
Among the first things Don said to his wife cut straight to the heart. “My dear Lorraine, I can’t imagine life without you. You have made the last 25 years fly by, and the last 20 with ALS more bearable. I am looking forward to the next 25 years. Love, Don.”
See the couple’s full story in this video:
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