Friday, February 24, 2017

'Elephant Man', Brian Richards, Finds Love Through Online Dating As Wife Says Condition Didn't Scare Her

A woman married to a sufferer of the 'Elephant Man' disease has told how the condition doesn't scare her - after they met through online dating.

Angie Richards, 34, from Delaware, US, found love with husband Brian after the pair met through a dating website in 2010.

Mr Richards was diagnosed with Proteus syndrome - an ultra-rare disease made famous by the inspiration behind The Elephant Man film Joseph Merrick - when he was three years old.

Throughout his life he has undergone 41 surgeries, including toe amputations and a lung removal, to stop his bones from growing which has left him unable to work.

At school he was branded "Frankenstein's monster" by bullying classmates while potential girlfriends were frightened off.

But his fortunes took a sudden upturn when he started a relationship with Angie whose nine-year-old daughter, Samantha, he cares for as a stay-at-home dad.
The loved up couple are now preparing to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary and find a new home to suit Mr Richards' complex needs.

Angie, a food inspector, said: "From his dating profile picture, I could tell he had something wrong but didn't know what it was, nor did I care; disease and handicap, doesn't scare me.

"Having a condition was not enough for me to think of Brian as a 'no.' I grew up in an environment where you don't care about what a person looks like, you care about who they are and how they treat others.

Before he met his wife, Mr Richards admitted he doubted he would ever find love.

He said: "When people meet me they normally like me for who I am, but don't like how I look. But with Angie, she cares about the beauty inside not what's on the outside.

"Before her I didn't have a lot of emotions. I had to shut down to protect myself but now I'm learning to be able to talk about problems and tell her when I'm in pain."

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