Your stories

Deborah & John's Story - Awareness Week 2017

17th October 2017



“Just over two years ago I met the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. Her name is Deborah (Debbie) Greenwood. We met online through the Shine40Plus Facebook page. I was still recovering from a relationship which went badly wrong and was a little unsure about another relationship. Deborah was also feeling hurt and let down by both past relationship and family problems.

"One night I plucked up the courage to give Deborah my mobile phone number and said that if she was ever feeling down and in need of someone to talk to, to feel free to contact me. Soon enough Deborah called and we had a really good chat for about an hour. Deborah seemed upset about a few things but I managed to cheer her up. After the call we continued to talk through Facebook and I rang her back a little later.

"One thing that we both immediately realised was that because we both have the same type of hydrocephalus we could understand so much about each other and support each other in a way that not every couple can. I have cerebral palsy as well as hydrocephalus and so told Deborah more about that and she proved to be so understanding. She has always done everything she can to help me, and visa-versa. In fact, not long after one of our conversations at the start of our relationship I became really ill. Cerebral palsy sometimes makes me shake and can be very scary. I told Deborah about this and she made travel arrangements to visit the next day.

"The following day Deborah arrived and it dawned on me just how much she cared. She had never been to Matlock before and was prepared to make a five hour train journey to a strange place to meet me for the first time. That meant so much to me.  Once Deborah arrived she would not let me do anything. She wanted to help me as much as possible. She would not even let me in my own kitchen, apart from when it was time for me to make coffee! She stayed for about five days and cooked everything. Except one morning I got up very early to start slow cooking a casserole.

"Deborah and I soon grew very close, although we did not live close to each other. Deborah lived in Great Yarmouth and I live in Matlock. So we would take it in turns. I would spend a few weeks in Great Yarmouth with Deborah then we would both travel back to Matlock and spend a few weeks there. Eventually Deborah moved in with me.

"My family accepted Deborah straight away and treated her like part of the family.  I proposed to Deborah on 14th December 2015, and we were married on 26th August this year. What makes it so good for both of us is that we understand each other. We accept each other's problems and support each other through them. We are both happier than we have ever been before, and look forward to spending the rest of our lives together."


If you've been affected or inspired by Deborah and John's story, you can help Shine to support more people just like them by donating £5. Simply text WEEK17 £5 to 70070, your donation will help pay for an information pack containing vital information for new members at a crucial stage in their lives.

Shine welcomed 692 new members in 2016, that's a total of £3460 before we've even began to deliver services. Your small donation could make a big difference.

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