Shelley Belgard was born with hydrocephalus ("water on the brain"), a condition that would result in delays in her verbal and motor skills. Doctors said she wouldn't live past six months, but she ignored their prediction, growing into a happy, but lonely girl.
Bill Ott was born with Down syndrome. He met Shelley when he was 12, and they remained close through high school, spending time together and going to prom twice. However, they lost contact as they moved to different parts of the country.
Years would go by until the two would meet again, this time on a cruise for people with disabilities. Reunited, they became inseparable.
Eventually, during a date at a Mexican restaurant, Bill proposed. Bill and Shelley's parents weren't sure what to think about the engagement, and several years passed as they sorted it out. After two years of dating, Bill moved in with Shelley to see if they could manage together with the challenges of each disability. They maintained separate beds and chose to put off sex until marriage.
Through couples therapy and training on how to best help each other, their parents assented and a wedding was planned.
This 2013 video from the Washington Post features Bill and Shelley's first Valentine's Day after getting married in September 2012. Watch it and SHARE their beautiful story of love and commitment.