Kris Scharoun-DeForge, 58, and Paul Scharoun-DeForge, 54, first met each other at a dance 30 years ago.
True love is said to be the strongest of all. Nothing beats true love. A New York couple with Down's Syndrome has been together for almost three decades, showing proof that love conquers all. Down's syndrome is a condition which has an effect on even the most basic functions of daily life. Kris Scharoun-DeForge, 58, and Paul Scharoun-DeForge, 54, were born with the condition and have overcome several hurdles over the years just to be together. According to Reader's Digest, they are the only couple with the condition to stay together for so long. The two met each other at a dance and tied the knot 25 years ago. Even after all these years, their love for each other has not reduced one bit. The couple first met each other 30 years ago, and the rest is history.
While speaking about their relationship, Kris says, “I looked into his eyes and saw my future.” She further added, “He opened up my world." For a number of years now, the couple has been diligently celebrating Valentine's Day. It is srt of a rule in their relationship to do something special together on that day. There was a set routine that Kris used to follow on the day with her husband like clockwork and this has gone on for many many years.
Besides many things, Kris loves papercraft. Every Valentine's day she would make a card with her own hands to give to him when he came back from work. They would then go out to eat, maybe at an Olive Garden or Red Lobster or even some someplace as basic as their beloved Subway. However, Paul seems to prefer the food that Kris cooks for him. She is said to be an excellent cook and Paul always gobbles up anything she prepares for him.
The Valentine’s Day of 2018, however, was the most eventful of all. The couple celebrated 25 years of being together. A few months later on August 13, the couple celebrated their 25th anniversary. During the time they got married, most people believed that people with their condition did not have the emotional maturity to get married. However, despite her condition, Kris always knew there was a prince charming out there for her. The couple has proved that despite all the odds and the comments, they have outlasted most other couples in the world.
It is needless to say that the couple has reached this point only after going through a lot of struggles and pain. Last year's Valentine’s Day was also the first in which they were not together since Paul has been coping with early-stage dementia, a common illness that affects people with Down's Syndrome. Paul was moved to a community residence by the state to receive intensive nursing care since their place did not have proper arrangements.
Kris said, “When they told me, I started to cry. He’s my life. I don’t want to be without him." While it may have been the journey of Paul and Kris, they have had immense support from their respective families who have also worked to keep the couple together. According to the families, the couple deserves to have the same freedom to live like other couples do. They also gave them the freedom to make their own decisions, even when it came to dealing with dementia. “They should define their own lives. They know what is good for them,” said Susan Scharoun, Kris’s sister.
According to Pauls' mother, Lorraine DeForge, he is a fighter. She mentioned how he mastered the bus service in Syracuse with the help of his seven brothers and sisters. He also spent many years working at the Arc of Onondaga’s vocational division. The Arc is a nationwide community organization that advocates for the developmentally disabled. In 2013, they awarded Paul as the Person of the Year, commending him for his work ethic, community service, and good cheer.
When Paul was born the doctors told DeForge not to expect much. However, he grew up to live a successful life and even got married to the woman of his dreams. Kris has had her struggles too. While she speaks with passion for the support of her parents, she spent a year as a child in a state institution after her father died young and her mother became ill. She explained that it wasn't easy but she got through it. Kris never gives up. She used t visit her husband on a regular and they even spent weekends together at Scharoun’s house.“They have unconditional love. They totally complement each other,” said Schroun.