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My fiancé and I met as teenagers at a hospital. We reconnected 10 years later, and he proposed to me there.

My fiancé and I met as teenagers at a hospital. We reconnected 10 years later, and he proposed to me there.
  • Logan Hopper was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant.

  • Her fiancé, Dillon, also has the condition, and the two met at the hospital.

  • They dated as teens and reconnected nearly a decade later.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Logan Hopper. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Growing up, I didn't know anyone who had cerebral palsy. In fact, I was the first kid with a physical disability in my tiny South Carolina school district. I faced a lot of teasing about my walker and wheelchair use, and I could never play on the playground since it wasn't accessible.

So, I was intrigued when I noticed a boy my age, with the same health condition, during one of my many treatments at Shriners Children's Greenville. His wide, beaming smile drew me in. I also loved that he had a walker, just like I did. It was just awesome to see a teenage boy using one.

Dillon introduced himself. We were both 16 and bonded over the challenges of being teenagers with the same disability. Dillon had the same pump as I did, which delivered a muscle relaxant right into our spines to help us move more easily. What other 16-year-old could understand that?

Dillon kneeling down and proposing to Logan.
Dillon proposed to Logan over a decade after they met in the rehabilitation room where they first saw each other.Courtesy Shriners Children's Greenville

We were in the friend zone for years

Back then, we dated for about eight months. Even after we broke up, we had a nice friendship. I attended Dillon's graduation party, and we kept in touch occasionally as we started our adult lives.

About a year and a half ago I texted Dillon, as I still did from time to time. We picked up right where we had left off, but this time something felt different. Maybe it's because we were now both adults, but we knew we wanted to be together. We started dating again, about 10 years after we first met.

Despite everything we had in common, dating wasn't always easy. I've always struggled with feeling unworthy. I never thought I would find love. I battle depression and anxiety on top of my cerebral palsy, and I put up walls to keep Dillon out. Eventually, he told me he needed a break.

I realized I didn't want to lose Dillon

I didn't blame Dillon for that. But during our three-week break, I realized I didn't want to live without him. I told Dillon I didn't want to lose him. Before long, we were back together, and our relationship was more serious than ever.

I wanted to visit the hospital where we'd first met. The rehabilitation room had been so important for us, and Dillon hadn't been back in years.

I thought we would just go for lunch, but I found out that Dillon had contacted Shriner's about organizing a surprise. I had a pretty strong idea of what that surprise might be. My anxiety latched onto the idea, and I kept asking about it. Eventually, Dillon told me he wanted to propose at the hospital.

Logan holding a bouquet of flowers and showing off her engagement ring.
After the engagement, they celebrated with their family and friends.Courtesy Shriners Children's Greenville

The proposal swept me away

Some people might think I ruined the surprise, but I loved knowing my proposal was coming. The morning of the proposal, I got my hair and makeup done. When I got to the hospital, there was a banner and balloons, and our loved ones were there, too.

Even with his physical limitations, Dillon got down on his knee. He poured his heart out to me. We both got very emotional. His sincerity washed away any doubt I had about whether I was loveable, and I know I'll return to the video of the moment again and again when my anxiety flares up.

I couldn't believe that I'd found this man who I want to spend the rest of my life with, and that we were committing to that in the same room where we first met.

We're working on an accessible home and cars

We'll probably get married in about two years. Right now, we still live separately, but we're planning to build a one-level accessible home that will be a perfect fit for us. We're also working to get handicapped-accessible cars so we can be more independent.

During our lives together, we want to help educate people about disability. I don't want anyone else to feel like I did as a child: alone. Although there's been a lot of progress, kids still give Dillon a hard time when he works as a substitute teacher.

I don't like the word disabled. Dillon and I are perfectly able — to find love, to have careers, and to share our stories. It just looks different from what people might expect.

Read the original article on Business Insider