South Side couple carrying love to new heights

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Thursday, June 1, 2023
South Side couple carrying love to new heights
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A South Side Chicago couple are carrying their love to new heights as they work on their relationship.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's a modern day love story of a woman meeting a man online.

And this South Side couple are carrying their love to new heights as they work on their relationship.

This is because one is in a wheelchair and other physically carries him around when needed.

"When I first got with Van, I was so weak, I couldn't do anything" Brittny Smith said. "I could even pop the wheelie in his chair for him. But he was like, No, I'm gonna get you in the gym and get you real strong."

"She really uses her legs when she actually pulls me upstairs.... No male, no help," VanRohn said.

Through sickness and in health are vows people recite in marriage, but this South Side couple has been practicing this commitment since love at first follow.

"It was the top of the year, January 2022," Brittny said. "I was procrastinating about working out. So I was sitting on this couch and I was like, I feel like working out so I started scrolling on Instagram, and randomly saw a guy in a wheelchair working out.

"I was like, You know what, if he could work out, I'm gonna take my butt to the gym and so I double tapped the picture, didn't think anything of it ....Went to workout, came back home after a couple hours hopped back on Instagram. And I had a whole bunch of likes, and a follow up from him."

After connecting on Instagram, the two face-timed, sealing the deal.

"I'm like, 'Oh wow, pretty face. She's not a catfish.' From that conversation, we spoke for like five hours. The first conversation ever, I knew she was my person," VanRohn said.

"As he's talking, I'm thinking about the list I was making in my phone in 2017," Britt said.

For the last five years, Brittny has made a list every January detailing her ideal partner

"So my list was like number one, he has to be in love with God," Brittny said. "Number two, he has to have children already. I already had a daughter. I didn't know if I wanted to have more kids after my experience. And he had to have girls because I didn't want boys around my baby. And he couldn't have more than two kids. He had to have a beard. He had to have nice waves. He had to have a full lining, he had to be like 6 foot..... I just never said he had to be six foot sitting down

VanRohn has been a paraplegic for five years.

"I was shot by my cousin, a debate, an argument and it left me paralyzed," he said. "I got shot one time in the back. So I'm paralyzed my chest down. I'm a T3 paraplegic."

When asked if the situation has changed his life for the better in some ways, VanRohn said, "I'm gonna say if I had an opportunity to undo it or go through it, I wouldn't change it. This made me who I am today. I love my chair, my chair is my throne.....Everything that happens in life is a blessing. Good or bad."

Despite being in a relationship with someone she has to carry, Brittney said it is the lightest relationship she has ever been in.

"My grandmother used to tell us all the time, never be with someone who doesn't make your life easy," she said. "And I was just too young to really understand what she was saying. But being with Van, just felt like that's what she was talking about.

"Van has taught me like patience. I thought I was a patient person before but watching him go through this situation and his circumstances. I'm just like, listen, always be grateful. Always be thankful.

"I would probably tell people just to be open. The package may not come in the wrapping that you may have wanted. But when you really are one with yourself, when you really love yourself, love just really kind of comes to you."