From the moment he saw her photo, Chris Beckette knew Taylor Lew was “the one.”
The San Francisco, California EMT was browsing a dating app when Taylor’s photo caught his eye. In the picture, she was standing in a certain spot in Tokyo, Japan, that Chris recognized because he had a nearly identical photo of himself standing there, too. It seemed like fate!
The two met up and instantly hit it off. Both of them love adventure and travel and share the same quirky sense of humor. A few weeks later they had already said, “I love you” and met each other’s families. It seemed that their love was meant to be, but just a month after they met, Chris started experiencing a strange muscle weakness in one of his legs. At first he chalked it up to an accident he’d had at the gym, but soon his symptoms got so strong they could no longer be ignored.
Chris went to the doctor and began a year-long process of testing and ruling out potential causes. While his doctor brought up the possibility of ALS, the progressive neurological disease also known as Lou Gehrig disease, early in the process, Chris refused to believe it could be true. He didn’t tell Taylor right away.
Countless MRIs, ECGs, and spinal taps, finally confirmed a diagnosis of ALS. Chris’s doctors warned that this diagnosis comes with a life expectancy of 3 to 5 years, and said he’d slowly lose the ability to walk, talk, and even feed himself.
“You realize everything you thought life could be isn’t going to happen,” Chris recalled.
Taylor took the news hard.
“It was heartbreaking. It was devastating,” she said. She had to quickly rewrite the future she’d envisioned for them, but it never crossed her mind to leave him. Chris told her he wouldn’t hold it against her if she left, but she wasn’t having any of it!
“Knowing his love for me, and me being very confident and secure in my love for him, made it a no brainer,” said Taylor. “It really wasn’t even a decision for me to stay. I love Chris, I know that I can take care of him and help him keep his positive spirit, and what better calling in life can you have than to be there for someone?”
After taking some time to come to terms with the diagnosis, Chris and Taylor decided to enjoy every second of the precious time they have left together. They embarked on a “bucket list” travel adventure, hiking in Zion, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, and taking overseas trips to the Philippines, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
“My feeling was, I’m still here and I’ve got a lot of living left to do,” said Chris. “And I wanted to keep having an amazing time with Taylor.”
In 2021, Chris asked Taylor to marry him. Although she said yes, they later decided not to legally marry so that Chris could keep his health insurance. Still, the engagement was a validation for their commitment to each other, and they consider themselves married even if it’s not by law.
Chris has lost a lot of mobility and speech since receiving his diagnosis, but his love for Taylor has only grown in the past 2 years. She is now his primary caregiver 24/7. She does everything for him, and doing so helps her process what’s happening.
Chris says he’s “still here” and is grateful that his disease is slow to progress. Both of them are hopeful that Chris can hold on long enough for medical research and technology to find a cure for ALS, but in the meantime, they’re finding joy in each day they’re given.
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