Shane Burcaw and Hannah Aylward have been dating for over four years and in that time, they’ve discovered that people find their relationship to be “pretty peculiar.”
“One of us has a severe muscle wasting disease, and uses a wheelchair. The other one of us…doesn’t,” they say.
Shane has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (or ‘SMA’ for short) and together with his fiancé Hannah, they have decided to share their life online to their 652,000 subscribers on their channel Squirmy and Grubs.
The now-Minneapolis-based couple met over four years ago when Hannah reached out to Shane online after reading his blog.
They have since met (obviously), fell in love, moved in together, become engaged and adopted a dog called Chloe.
Their love story is honestly and authentically shared online for the world to see.
And so are the other, often less-explored factors that go in to them being an ‘inter-abled couple.’
“Shane’s disability plays a huge role in our relationship, but not in the way that most people expect,” she says.
The couple share the care-giving elements that go into the relationship, like Hannah helping Shane to stretch, get in and out of bed and use the bathroom.
A common phrase you can find in the comments on our videos is, “Hannah sacrifices everything to be with Shane.” This is sometimes said to make me seem like a good person, with something along the lines of, “Hannah is so incredible, sacrificing her life for the one she loves.” Other times, it’s more like, “What must be wrong with her, for her to think her only option is to sacrifice her life for someone like Shane.” Hannah shared in her instagram post.
“These comments are a result of the idea that disabled people aren’t valuable partners,” she shares.
“It insinuates that Shane is a burden because he needs help with physical aspects of his day to day life, and it assumes that my entire existence is consumed by that help. “
Hannah denies that this is true saying she is in a supportive, healthy and wonderful relationship with Shane.
Their recent YouTube video titled “The Happiness I Sacrifice For My Disabled Fiancé” intimately explores Hannah’s past desires for her future and considers whether being in a relationship with Shane has inhibited her from achieving these goals.
(Spoiler: it hasn’t at all).
The video is honest and real and relatable to anyone in a relationship.
“This is such a misunderstood topic that needs to be discussed more,” says Hannah.
Hannah and Shane’s videos normalise inter-abled relationships and help curious audiences understand the different aspects of their relationship.
They often confront awkward – but nonetheless important – issues head-on and with a whole lot of sarcasm and humour (the sarcasm is their speciality).
Their intimacy video series is one such example, showing that people who have different abilities are able to have healthy, loving relationships.
Their respect and support and love for one another is evident and admirable in every video they make.
If you wanted to watch one positive thing today, let it be this video (or any of their others).