Winslow Jackson was divorced when he met Dorothy Biebrich in 2006 at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
She was divorced, too.
They also both had multiple sclerosis.
“On my birthday, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; three years later, my wife left, and we were divorced,” Winslow, 62, said during a recent visit to StoryCorps in Atlanta. “And that was, undoubtedly, the saddest time of my life, because I felt so stranded.”
When she met Winslow, Dorothy was almost 60 and had been living with the disease for more than 30 years. She could barely walk.
“I was on my own,” said Dorothy, who is now 63. “I was bewildered about where I was going or what I was going to do.”
But, one day Dorothy was in the gym and this man, who invariably used her favorite piece of gym equipment, said, “Wow, nice red scooter.”
“I thought, well, I’ve heard lines like this before, but this time it was different,” she said. “We talked for 15 or 20 minutes. And I found out that he also had MS.”
“So, we dated, oh, let’s say maybe a year and a half, and the question came up, ‘Well, how can two people with MS ever survive together?’ And this has been the real miracle of our relationship,” Winslow said.
If one of their scooters goes down, the other one can pull or push, Dorothy said. Winslow has pushed her many times and Dorothy has pulled him.
“Fortunately, today, they have medications out that can almost stop the progression of MS,” he said. “So, my symptoms have not really changed in the last 10 years. I certainly am very hopeful that my wife will not worsen either.”
The couple, who are now married, say they like to think that they are setting good examples of how to live life.
“Well, Dorothy, I want to thank you so much for being with me and being my true love,” Winslow said.
“You’re so much fun to be with,” Dorothy responded. “I look forward to continuing to seeing the world with you.”
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.