When Maryanne and Tommy Pilling fell in love, they faced tremendous opposition. But they didn’t let anything stand in the way of their love for each other. The inspiring couple, both with Down syndrome, made history when they got married in 1995. Their extraordinary journey has inspired people around the world.
Maryanne and Tommy’s love story began when they met at a training center for people with learning difficulties. It was love at first sight, and they soon started dating. Despite the challenges they faced, their love grew stronger with time.
Maryanne, born in 1971, was fortunate to have a loving and supportive family. However, her father rejected her after she was born. Tommy, born in 1958, had a difficult childhood and became an orphan at a young age. When they found each other, age and differences didn’t matter – their connection was undeniable.
The couple shared many interests, including cooking, watching movies, and dining out. Tommy knew that Maryanne was the one for him, and after 18 months of dating, he decided to propose. Maryanne’s family had reservations due to the prejudices they faced, but eventually gave their blessings. On a beautiful day in July 1995, Maryanne and Tommy exchanged vows in front of their loved ones.
Maryanne and Tommy shared a loving life together. They lived with Maryanne’s sister for the first seven years of their marriage before moving into their own house. The couple had their independence, enjoying private time while still having support when needed.
Throughout their journey, they faced prejudice and ignorance from society due to their condition. But they remained strong, making a statement simply by walking down the street hand-in-hand. Their love knew no boundaries, and their story gave hope to others facing similar challenges.
In 2014, Tommy received a devastating diagnosis – dementia. The cruel disease slowly took away his memory and affected his ability to recognize Maryanne. It was heartbreaking for both of them as Tommy sometimes pushed her away, not remembering who she was. But Maryanne remained devoted, providing comfort even in the darkest moments.
Tragedy struck again when Tommy tested positive for COVID-19 in 2019. After battling the virus for two weeks, he passed away at the age of 62. The loss was devastating for Maryanne, who felt lost without her beloved husband.
Maryanne and Tommy’s love story touched the hearts of millions around the world. Their love and resilience shattered stereotypes and proved that people with Down syndrome deserve respect, support, and a life free from prejudice. Their story continues to inspire others, giving hope to families with children or grandchildren who have Down syndrome.
Though Tommy may be gone, his memory lives on in the hearts of those who loved him. Maryanne now has an angel looking over her, and we hope she finds comfort and support in this difficult time. Love truly knows no boundaries.