They say there’s no greater force in this world than real love. While the idea may seem far-fetched to some, we encounter real-life stories now and then proving there’s truth in it. Finding your forever love and beating all the odds sounds like a fairytale – one that most of us can only dream of. However, this couple in Australia shows us that it can be a reality.
Bill and Glad Forward have known each other since they were eight years old, and this year, they will celebrate their 57 years of togetherness. That’s the true meaning of real love — longevity. Throughout their lives, they’ve encountered a series of troubles, including Glad’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in 2004. Her health deteriorated at an alarming rate, and she lost her sight as it progressed.
For the bulk of their marriage, the couple loved engaging in outdoor activities, particularly cycling. It has been an integral part of their lives.
“When we first started dating, I used to ride my bike from where I lived to where she was, and that was about 5 kilometers, on a Saturday afternoon, ‘cause that was the only chance we had to get together,” Bill recalled.
They each owned a bike of their own, and Glad’s had a bay chair on the front so their babies can ride around with them.
But with Glad’s health issues, they can’t go biking as they used to before. However, Bill wouldn’t let that happen; he swore he would do anything for his wife. The doting husband came up with a brilliant idea – designing a special bike that can accommodate an immobile person. This idea spurred by his real love for his wife brought about the creation of the “bike chair” – a hybrid of a bicycle and a wheelchair.
For several years, Bill lived abroad, and the inventiveness he witnessed there inspired him to create the bike chair. He drafted a design and took it to his friend to build. And the result was brilliant – a baby blue bike with one wheel on the back and two wheels on the front supporting a chair with a seat belt and leg rests.
With their new custom-made tandem bike, the two can continue sharing bike rides through the local parks and beaches in their area.
“When we’re on the bike she can hear and can feel the wind in her hair, all those things are really nice for her,” Bill told 9 Stories. “If the weather is good, and I can, I like to go for a ride at least three times a week. There’s an amazing number people that come and talk to us so it’s always good.”
The disease comes with its hardships, but despite this setback, Bill lovingly does everything for Glad “from the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to bed.” To him, serving his wife is an honor; through it, he is able to return all the love she has shown him throughout the years.
“I don’t count it a burden whatsoever, I count it a great privilege to care for this one I have loved all these years. She’s my real love, my princess and I’m her William and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Bill explained.
More people like Bill and Glad can enjoy bike rides now that The Bike Chair has gone commercial! Since the team behind it was formed, their Facebook page has garnered over 27,000 followers from all over the world. They’re still a small company, but they’re doing everything they can to expand and reach everyone who needed a bike chair.
The couple’s story was featured in a 2013 short film called “What is Love?” You may watch it in the video below.