‘Till death do us part’. Husband with Down Syndrome believed to be in one of the longest marriages with a woman of the same condition has tragically passed away after 25 years of wedded bliss. Paul Scharoun-DeForge 56 married to wife Kris, 59 died of complications of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease last month.
The couple from Liverpool in upstate New York first met at a dance for people with disabilities during the 1980’s and go on to get married despite facing multiple obstacles in their bid for happiness, with doctors even urging their respective parents to put them in an institution after they were born, Washington Post reports.
Explaining her feelings for Paul, Kris said: ‘I looked into his eyes and saw my future, and that’s when I proposed to him…He said yes.’ She went on to tell her sister Susan Scharoun ‘I like a man who is like me.’
When Kris Scharoun-DeForge spotted Paul DeForge she fell in love. While many doubted them, the couple with Down syndrome just celebrated 25 years of marriage. pic.twitter.com/WacxmSuEba— Dolan Fund (@DolanFund) August 29, 2018
According to Metro.co.uk, Paul and Kris dated for years until their engagement 1988 Kris proposed. The couple were allowed to marry in 1993 after proving to New York state officials that they were capable of consenting to the relationship. This included taking Planned Parenthood sponsored classes and sitting tests that measured their understanding of sexual knowledge, feelings and needs.
“They are role models for everybody who wants a good relationship,” said Susan Scharoun, Kris Scharoun-DeForge’s older sister. “They were a team: They deferred to each other and looked out for each other.”
After their marriage, Kris got a job at Pizza Hut, while Paul worked at the Arc of Onondaga’s workshop(an organization to support people with disabilities) until about a year ago Paul began to show signs of dementia, a condition which affects more than half of people with Down syndrome over the age of 50.
With Paul’s death last month, Kris now plans to travel to their favourite holiday spot – the Adirondack Mountains – on their wedding anniversary this August to scatter Paul’s ashes.