“We will continue to take our walks until we both can no longer walk.”

When you get married, you promise to love and cherish each other, in sickness and in health.

And while no one ever wants to have to face the challenges of illness, it is during those difficult moments that the true strength of love is revealed.

A Life-Changing Diagnosis

husband and wife walking
Photo by Trần Long

Life was good for Rick Dorothy and his wife Jan. Married for 15 years with one child and another on the way, they were looking forward to their future as a family of four.

But then, life jumped the tracks and Rick lost his job of 18 years. The timing couldn’t be worse. Jan, eight months pregnant, had just quit her own job to become a stay-at-home mom.

The couple spent countless hours, walking and trying to make sense of an uncertain future. During those walks, they decided to sell their house, build another, and start a wood business.

Life got back on track.

“She was my left hand for the next few years,” Rick said of his wife Jan. “We built together, cut wood together, and made money together. Everything seemed to be coming true, and our life was happy and productive. Life was good to us.” 

And then…life jumped the tracks again. This time, Rick’s mother became very ill. They decided to move her in with them. It ended up being a difficult time for them but the couple managed to cope with the help of daily walks.

“We started making our long walks an everyday thing. It gave us time to reflect on things and plan each day,” Rick said.

It was during one of their daily walks that Rick noticed that his wife was dragging her right foot. When it wasn’t getting any better, they consulted a doctor. Jan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Husband Builds “Rick”shaw So He and His Wife Can Still Go On Walks Together

According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.

As much as Rick and Jan vowed to continue to live life as usual, the disease eventually took its toll. Jan struggled to do stairs and was no longer able to help out with the business.

Finally, her nerves deteriorated to the point that she was no longer able to take those walks the couple loved so much.

MS had already stolen so much from them. Rick wasn’t about to let it steal this too.

So the woodworker came up with an idea. A brilliant, if not somewhat crazy, idea. He was going to build Jan a “Rick”shaw. His kids were skeptical. So was his wife.

“When I revealed my plan, I got the normal head bob and the good for you response. Even Jan questioned my sanity. I was not exactly a spring chicken, and the idea of me pulling her around in some wooden thing was sketchy at best.”

True Love Knows No Bounds

husband pulls wife in rickshaw

Turns out, his idea wasn’t so crazy after all. He custom-built the rickshaw to Jan’s body size and weight and even added a suspension system for a smooth, comfy ride.

Despite worrying that she was going to tip over backward, the maiden voyage was a resounding success. Jan loved it. As for Rick? The only thing that mattered was being able to walk with the “love of his life” again.

“It didn’t matter how it was for me, I would have broken both legs to take her on that first ride.”

Rick Dorothy

There have been countless rides since then. And as long as Rick can still walk, there will be countless more.

As for others who find themselves in a similar situation, he has these words of advice:

“For other people that have a similar situation in their life, I would give this advice. Take life one day at a time, and when life throws a brick wall in front of you, just build a ladder and cross the wall,” Rick shared. “I know as long as my legs are still strong enough to walk, Jan and I will still have those long walks in the woods.”

Love is easy when life is good. But when you get stuck neck-deep in the mud and weeds of life’s trials…when you fear that you will never be able to take another step…right there, in that place, is where true love really can move mountains.

The kind of love that knows no bounds.

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