Meet the Women Who Found Love as Their Bodies Turn To Stone
These are the victims of FOP, a rare disease that makes a person's joints as solid as rocks.
These are the two courageous brides who found their soulmates while an incurable disease gradually makes it harder for them to move.
Kathy Ford’s vows with her husband, Chuck, had extra special meaning. She suffers from Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), which is gradually turning her ligaments and tendons into bone. The disease affects 800 people worldwide.
At their 2013 wedding, she told her husband: “You're the reason I get up in the morning, the reason I keep pushing forward in life.”
The bride couldn’t move her arms, her jaw and mouth were locked as well as her legs and hips.
She never thought she would meet Mr. Right.
“I didn’t think anyone would be willing to deal with my disease,” she said.
But none of that mattered to Chuck. They met on the dating website OkCupid.com in 2013 and he popped the question 6 months later.
“She has the most beautiful heart, mind and soul and that's what I fell in love with,” he said.
Chuck tends to all of Kathy’s needs. With her body being completely rigid, Kathy says she understands why some people refer to her as “the woman made of stone.”
The 30-year-old 911 dispatcher from Atlantic City, New Jersey, lives an active life.
Since Kathy can't bend her body, getting in the car is a challenge but the couple has a routine.
When they can, they relish a beautiful day on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.
On her Facebook page, she tries to spread awareness about her illness.
When Holly LaPrade walked down the aisle at her 2012 wedding, guests couldn't tell that she had also been diagnosed with FOP.
But just one year later, the disease began to rob her of mobility. Her hip, knee and leg are all locked.
“Marriage is hard enough; adding FOP into the equation makes it more difficult,” she said. “Together we're stronger. It’s made us stronger as a couple. If our marriage can handle this it can handle anything.”
It is a contrast to the bride who walked down the aisle and danced in her wedding gown. Now, everything is a struggle.
Her husband, Tim, helps her around the house in North Haven, Connecticut. He is building a ramp for the day when walking becomes impossible for her.
Kathy, who works for the family construction business, has grippers situated around her home to help pick up dropped items. She also has a device to help her get socks on which is a daily challenge.
“At lot of times to have to laugh, otherwise you want to cry,” she said.
Amazingly, both Holly and Kathy can have children, but only through in vitro fertilization and Caesarian section delivery. However, both fear that the trauma of childbirth could worsen the FOP.
Both couples take one day at a time proving love can conquer all.
For more information on the disease, click here.
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