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Able-bodied woman who married disabled man hits back at trolls who called their marriage a ‘joke’

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An able-bodied woman who married a disabled man with a neuromuscular disease has hit out at trolls who posted cruel comments on her wedding pictures saying that the groom must have money and that their relationship is ‘some kind of joke.’ 

Shane Burcaw, 27, and Hannah Aylward, 24, have earned international attention for shedding light on interabled relationships, sharing their story and details of their life together on social media, including their popular ‘Squirmy and Grubs’ YouTube channel.

Earlier this month, the Minnesota couple said ‘I do’ in a private ceremony in their backyard — but when Hannah proudly shared photos from the happy occasion, some commenters were quick to show the worst of themselves, writing that their marriage couldn’t be real and accusing Hannah of being a gold-digger. 

They do! Shane Burcaw, 27, and Hannah Aylward, 24, got married earlier this month

Rude! Some commenters left cruel comments on their photos, saying that Hannah must have married him for money and that their marriage was a ‘joke’

Shane, a writer and public speaker, was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disease causes muscles to deteriorate over time. He has been in an electric wheelchair since he was two, and can barely move his legs, arms, and hands. 

After watching a documentary that The Office star Rainn Wilson produced about Shane’s life, Hannah reached out complimenting Shane on his sense of humor and his writing before admitting that she thought he was very cute.

They got to know each other through FaceTime calls and text messages and eventually fell in love.

Together, the couple launched their YouTube channel to better educate people about interabled relationships — and it was there they shared video from their wedding day in early September.

Hannah also posted photos on Instagram, where they were met with mostly postitive and congratulatory comments.

However, some of the comments were not so nice, and on September 11, Hannah made a follow-up post calling out these cruel people, including several of the nastiest comments superimposed over one of the wedding pictures.

‘Is he rich or something?’ read one, while another commenter just left dollar signs.

Not listening! Hannah responded on Instagram, saying that ‘worrying about these people’s opinions is a waste of time’

Living her life: She admitted that it used to be painful to read cruel comments, but she is now able to dismiss them 

‘Disabled people are worthy partners,’ Hannah said, adding that they will keep sharing their story 

Another said it must be ‘some kind of joke,’ while one more speculated that the photo was Photoshopped.

‘I’m saying this without any apologies,’ said another. ‘I’m pretty sure that woman married him because of money and not for love.’

Candid: The interabled couple have shared their story and details of their life together on social media, including their popular ‘Squirmy and Grubs’ YouTube channel

Yet another — who clearly did not watch any of the couple’s YouTube video, where they have address sex and intimacy — suggested that Hannah must have another partner for sex.

Hannah addressed all the mean comments in her caption.

‘If the past two years of having a YouTube channel have taught me anything, it’s that you’re never going to be able to educate everyone. No matter what you do, some people will just never come around,’ she wrote.

‘Worrying about these people’s opinions is a waste of time, and as time has gone on, it’s become so much easier to genuinely have no internal reaction to comments like these. 

‘A few years ago, reading words like these was painful. For a while, I held onto the idea that once Shane and I were married, all the people doubting our relationship would realize it was real. 

‘Now, of course, I’m not that naive. Although it’s taken time, I’m able to completely dismiss people like this. Shane and I continue to make content and share our story with the hopes of showing as many people as we can that disabled people are worthy partners.

‘Comments like these only encourage us to continue! We’re so grateful for all of the people that our story has managed to reach in a positive way,’ she said. 

Story: Shane was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disease that causes muscles to deteriorate over time. He’s in a wheelchair since he was two years old

Private: The newlyweds married in a backyard ceremony over Zoom in their backyard 

Right now! They said they are waiting until next year to have a large family celebration, but couldn’t wait to officially get married

Beginnings: Their relationship started when Hannah reached out to Shane after watching a documentary that ‘The Office’ actor Rainn Wilson produced about his life

Bling bling! They had their rings custom-made and went to pick them up days before the wedding

The two appeared quite happy on their wedding day, photos and video from which they shared on social media. 

They said they are waiting until next year to have a large family celebration, but couldn’t wait to officially get married — so they legally wed this weekend in a private ceremony.

In their YouTube video documenting the big day, they showed off their custom rings, which they picked up from New Gild Jewelers in Minneapolis. 

After some other last-minute preparations, including a haircut for Shane — done by Hannah, of course — the couple married in their yard in front of a computer, where an officiant and some family members looked on.

Shane wore a suit, while Hannah wore the dress her mother wore at her own wedding.

The newlyweds posed for several pictures together, including some in which they wore ‘bride’ and ‘groom’ face masks.

They were also joined by their dog, and after making the marriage official, the couple dug into a white wedding cake. 

‘The ceremony went really well,’ Shane said. ‘We weren’t sure, doing it over Zoom, how that would go.’

‘Yeah, it was perfect,’ Hannah added. ‘It broke up like once. That was kind of funny. But other than that, it was smooth sailing.’

Fun: They followed up the ceremony with food from their favorite takeout place and music from a Spotify playlist

Next generation: Hannah wore the same dress her mother wore to her wedding

Lookalikes: They showed off side-by-side comparisons of Hannah and her mom

‘The ceremony went really well,’ Shane said. ‘We weren’t sure, doing it over Zoom, how that would go.’

‘Yeah, it was perfect,’ Hannah added. ‘It broke up like once. That was kind of funny. But other than that, it was smooth sailing.’

They followed up the ceremony with food from their favorite takeout place and music from a Spotify playlist.

Shane said that it didn’t feel that different to be husband and wife, because they’ve ‘been practically, like, married for two years.’

Next up for the newlyweds is starting a family: In a video uploaded last week, Hannah revealed that she stopped taking birth control, with the hopes that she will soon get pregnant.

‘We are beginning down that road of getting ready for kids,’ Shane said. 

Secret: The couple previously opened up about how they handle intimacy

Honest: They said they rely on constant communication to make sure they’re satisfying each other’s physical needs, and they believe able-bodied couples should do the same

Nerves: Hannah admitted that she was somewhat afraid of hurting Shane when they first started dating, saying she would ask to move any part of him before doing so

The couple had previously answered fans’ questions about how they manage intimacy in their interabled relationship.

‘A lot of people assume it doesn’t exist,’ Hannah said of the physical side of their relationship. ‘That’s a really damaging stereotype for all disabled people when you assume that disabled people aren’t sexually active.’   

Shane explained that while they have made it a point to keep their private life private, there is a lot of misinformation and stigma surrounding disability and intimacy that they wanted to dispel. 

In the clip, they used the word ‘intimacy’ as an umbrella term to ‘refer to any number of sexual acts’ to keep from divulging too much.  

‘When we say intimacy, we mean sex. We mean other sexual acts,’ Shane noted. 

The couple has also spoken about their desire to have children together, with Shane explaining in an old post on his blog that he is ‘perfectly capable of having sex.’

‘I get boners and my boners shoot sperm, so having kids is a real option,’ he wrote at the time.  

Future plans: Shane explained in an old blog post that he is ‘perfectly capable of having sex,’ and he and Hannah have spoken about their desire to have children together

Common misconception: Hannah said many people incorrectly assume that ‘disabled people aren’t sexually active’

Affectionate: While Shane can’t get up to give Hannah a hug, he will call her over and ask her to lean in so he can kiss her or hold her hand

Hannah admitted that she was somewhat afraid of hurting Shane when they first started dating, saying she would ask to move any part of him before doing so. 

‘I remember you being like, “I don’t want to break you,”‘ Shane recalled, joking that he would tell her: ‘Just break me, go ahead.’ 

Hannah noted that he is ‘a lot less fragile’ than he looks, while he added that he is also very mindful’ of his own safety. Even after years together, he still reminds Hannah to be careful when she is putting his socks on for him.  

‘Shane is very cautious about his body movements — and you verbalize it,’ she said. ‘I pretty much know how every single part of your body can move and to what extent and to what direction. I know his body as well as I know mine now.’

The couple did, however, admit that years ago, Hannah had him screaming in pain ‘at the end of intimacy’ after she leaned in to give him a kiss and squished his elbow. 

The couple also agreed that able-bodied couples should strive to be just as communicative at they are.

‘I think our intimate life does benefit from that and saying what both of us want and figuring out how to get it,’ Hanna said. ‘Because I think a lot of the time if you’re doing cookie-cutter whatever, it might not be completely what both people are dreaming of having.’ 

Shane added: ‘When I’m on the giving end of intimacy, I am very prone to be like, ‘Is this good? Is this fine? How’s this? Is this alright?” Hannah is often like, “Shut up.”‘ 

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