Couple who fell in love through Parkinson’s say it's ‘the best thing that ever happened to them’
People can fall in love despite the most onerous of circumstances; during a war, or battling a terrible illness, or in the midst of some great personal tragedy, passion and desire can still bloom between two people. Nobody proves this axiom better than Jason and Martha Batup; two remarkable people who fell in love after meeting at a support group for people with Parkinson's. Now the pair have opened up about their strange and curious romance.
Entrepreneur Jason was first diagnosed with Parkinson's 41 in 2012; which led to the breakdown of his marriage, the loss of his job and his house. Jason, a champion 1500 meters runner in his youth, realised that the right side of his body was stiffening, which took away his mobility. Eventually, he lost so much movement in his right arm that he was unable to use a computer mouse. Although Jason and his then-wife Lisa tried to make their relationship work, the condition placed a strain on them and they were forced to split amicably. At a loss and living alone, Jason decided to try to help others with the condition.
He met Martha while speaking at a support group meeting in March of 2018. The pair were immediately smitten with each other. They exchanged phone numbers and arranged to meet again for another date, and they've been together ever since.
Commenting on their remarkable relationship, Jason stated: "One day, I went to one of their support sessions and got talking to a lovely woman – Martha. We had so much in common and pretty much instantaneously it was clear there was some spark between us ... I don’t see Martha as a Parkinson’s sufferer and I would have been besotted with her anyhow. But we know how the other one feels instinctively and can empathise without being condescending. That’s all you want really – someone who understands what you’re going through."
He added: "Had I not had the disease I never would have met Martha. Because of this, in many ways, I think being diagnosed with Parkinson’s was the best thing that ever happened to me ... I was getting involved with Parkinson’s UK, a support charity for people with the condition, when we met. It had started to make me look at my illness more positively, pushing me to make the most of the life that I do have."
Martha meanwhile has a similar opinion. She'd never had a significant relationship before Jason, and after a decade spent fighting the disease she'd almost given up hope. She stated: "I suffered with symptoms of Parkinson’s for about 10 years and it made me very depressed – having this problem, but not knowing what it was. Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s was a relief really because it allowed me to move on. But, more importantly, it led to me meeting Jason, who has made my life so much better."
She added: "Initially, I didn’t want to meet other Parkinson’s sufferers, as it made it too ‘real’. Meeting Jason changed all that, though. Instantly I knew there was something between us and that it would go somewhere. I can honestly say that my life is so much better than it was before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s."
I guess it just goes to show that love can blossom no matter what the circumstances!