Love knows no bounds, and the interabled romance of what most people would consider an “unusual” couple is ample evidence of it. A disabled man who relies on a wheelchair and his able-bodied girlfriend are attempting to break down the stigma surrounding their relationship through YouTube videos.
Shane Burcaw was born with a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and he has used a wheelchair since the age of two. Three years ago, he received a message from Hannah Aylward after she watched a documentary made by The Office’s Rainn Wilson about Shane’s life.
The 23-year-old woman complimented Shane, who writes books and attends talks about his disability, on his sense of humor and his writing before admitting that she thought he was very cute. Shane also wanted to get to know her more, so after a series of text messages and video calls, Hannah, who studies in college in Minnesota visited the 26-year-old in Pennsylvania.
Although they just spent four days together during Hannah’s visit, the pair knew that there was a connection.
Hannah and Shane eventually became a couple and realized that they wanted to make their long distance relationship work. In 2018, the young couple moved into an apartment in Minneapolis, Minnesota, together so that Hannah could finish her final years in university.
However, the couple’s romance has been called “abnormal” and “disgusting” by trolls, with others often assuming Hannah is Shane’s paid caregiver or relative.
To educate others about their lives together, Hannah and Shane created a YouTube channel entitled “Squirmy and Grubs” where they explain the realities of an interabled relationship.
“Our goal is to normalize disability and relationships like ours. 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.
There is 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.”
The couple has, however, spoken about how they are quite hesitant to answer some of the “creepy” questions about the intimate aspects of their relationship.
They have spoken before of how they want to have children together, and Shane has explained in an older post on his blog 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.”
Obviously, there’s going to be some people who are critical about them in some way, shape or form, but hate comments have not stopped the determined couple from posting their continuing love story on their social media accounts.
Watch the video here:
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