8:00pm

Thu March 22, 2012
StoryCorps

Two Lost Souls Find Each Other In A Hospital

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 11:39 am

Winslow Jackson was divorced when he met Dorothy Biebrich in 2006 at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

She was widowed.

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, her husband had died in a motorcycle accident, and she 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.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Time again for StoryCorps; that's the project recording conversations between loved ones. Today, the story of a relationship that began six years ago in a hospital. Dorothy Biebrich was receiving treatment for multiple sclerosis. Winslow Jackson was there because of news that had already changed his life.

WINSLOW JACKSON: On my birthday, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Three years later, my wife left, and we were divorced. And that was, undoubtedly, the saddest time of my life because I felt so stranded.

DOROTHY JACKSON: I was almost 60. I've had the disease for over 30 years - could barely walk - and my husband died in a motorcycle accident. I was on my own. I was bewildered about where I was going or what I was going to do.

But one day, I was in the gym and this man, who invariably used my favorite piece of gym equipment, said...

WINSLOW JACKSON: Wow, nice red scooter.

DOROTHY JACKSON: I thought, well, I've heard lines like this before, but this time it was different. We talked for 15 or 20 minutes. And I found out that he also had MS.

WINSLOW JACKSON: 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.

DOROTHY JACKSON: If one of our scooters goes down, the other one can pull or push the other one.

WINSLOW JACKSON: I've pulled her many times.

DOROTHY JACKSON: And I've pulled you.

WINSLOW JACKSON: Well, true. Fortunately, today, they have medications out that can almost stop the progression of MS. So my symptoms have not really changed in the last 10 years. I certainly am very hopeful that my wife will not worsen, either.

DOROTHY JACKSON: We'd like to think that we're setting good examples of how to live life.

WINSLOW JACKSON: Well, Dorothy, I want to thank you so much for being with me, and being my true love.

DOROTHY JACKSON: You're so much fun to be with. I look forward to continuing to see the world with you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Dorothy and Winslow Jackson, at StoryCorps in Atlanta. And their conversation will be archived with all the others at the American Folk Life Center, at the Library of Congress. You can sign up for the project's podcast at npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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