When doctors gave up hope on a man’s wife, he knew God had more in store for them as a couple. Doctors urged, begged, him to put his wife into a nursing home, but Andy Fierlit refused to betray his wife like that. Ever since he met Donna at the church dance in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1960, he wanted to show her the world. He first asked Donna for a stick of gum and has never stopped being interested in her since.
“It was 1960 in Pawtucket, R.I., and at that time, the churches used to sponsor dances in the back of the parking lot,” explained Andrew to WTNH. “So, I approached Donna and my pickup line at the time was, ‘Do you have any gum?’ Well, she told me to ‘Get lost.'”
It’s been fifty-eight years that they’ve been happily together. They married in 1966 and went on to have four children and twelve grandchildren. They had a wonderful life together, but tragedy struck, and doctors urged Andy to abandon his wife.
When Donna was 45, she suffered a brain aneurysm. The bout left her partially paralyzed. Doctors didn’t want Andy to change his life for his wife. Instead of accommodating the change in her circumstances, the medical pros told him to leave her in an expensive nursing facility. They wanted Andy to “get on with his life.” But his life was Donna. And he would never abandon her like that.
Andy refused to tour the Rhode Island nursing home circuit. Instead, he leaned on his wedding vows and remembered the day he promised to be with her “for better or worse.”
Instead of dropping his wife at a facility, he came up with an audacious plan. He decided to tour the globe with her. Although Donna, who is now 73, was bound in a wheelchair, Andy figured out a way to bring her to all the wonderful places around the world. It has been nearly three decades since her health issue, and their love has not flagged for an instant.
“She was 45, she suffered a brain aneurysm,” said Andrew to WTNH. “Their original assessment was to put her in a nursing home, and I was not going to do that. I told them we would live a normal life.”
They have visited 27 countries as a couple and stepped onto all seven continents. Although she was bound in a wheelchair, Andy made their dream of world travel come true. They even gave her wheelchair a name because it proved to be a trusty companion – “Proud Mary.”
While the unexpected brain aneurysm changed their life, Andy decided to turn the problem around and make it an opportunity for them to live their dream of travel. And Donna recognizes the greatness of Andy for doing that.
“I feel he truly loves me,” explained Donna. “That he would do anything in the world for me.”
In the video below, you’ll see Andy and Donna on some of their world trips. What do you think about their adventurous spirit?