Will Smith shares a love story that happens to include two people who embraced their differences as willingly as their similarities. Read more about how together they are making adjustments to continue building their lives together.
From the day Damar and I met on a dating website, we were a match made in heaven. Damar and I quickly formed a friendship that developed into a long-lasting bond, made even stronger through hard times and difficulties. Damar’s rare condition (SCA 2) was listed in her dating profile. As I grew in love with her, I wholeheartedly embraced Damar’s Ataxia as did she with my diabetes. When asked, “Do you consider yourself a caregiver or family?”, I replied, “I am family. I vowed to love Damar through sickness or health, poor or rich, for better or worse. It’s as if we both have Ataxia.” We will survive through Ataxia together. We dated for one year; were engaged for a year; and have been happily married for 3 years in October 2020.
Through the years, life with Damar has endured minor changes. She is unable, at times, to walk independently. While dating, Damar walked independently but now uses my arm or a walker to assist her. She walks at a slower pace and needs daily naps. I embrace this slower lifestyle; it has been good for me. Despite her challenges, Damar remains independent as much as she can be. She still tackles the laundry, cooking for the family, dog walks and cleaning around the house with and without assistance.
We both enjoy dog walks together which enables us to bond and connect. We also enjoy visiting with family in Delaware to help alleviate the stress of daily life. We’re also waiting for a service dog to help Damar with balance and falls. A service dog will help with Damar’s mobility and gait so that she’s able to stay independent. Honestly, a service dog would benefit our family and allow me to worry less about her. We’re also buying a ranch style home with handicap accessibility to make mobility easier for Damar by installing a ramp and safety features throughout the home.
We have found that Ataxia, a physical disability, causes social isolation. We were, fortunately, able to attend the 2019 Ataxia Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Not only for education but to form friendships with other families living with Ataxia. Living with Damar’s Ataxia has taught me some valuable lessons about life. It has exposed me to the Ataxia community which has emphasized that no one should face a disability alone. There are communities and resources available to assist the disability community via Facebook, Social Services, and elsewhere.
Yes, there is definitely strength in numbers. Thank you, Will Smith, for sharing this story.
Please consider sharing your story – whether you have Ataxia, are a caregiver, friend, or relative. You may fill out the form below to get started.