“We’ve actually known each other for six years,” Rebecca Wylie says while talking to her boyfriend Greg Anger in this week’s StoryCorps, recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center. They met on Facebook when he was a freshman at the University of Missouri, her alma mater.
“I was in the hospital and I was not sleeping, and Greg was the only one on Facebook at one in the morning, and it kind of just turned into a romance.” “You’re a tough egg to crack, let me tell you,” Anger says.
Wylie is working towards a Law Degree from Loyola University in Chicago with a focus on health care. She is also a quadriplegic, and uses a wheelchair. “I wasn’t born with my disability,” she says. ”I was seven years old when it happened. So I do know what it’s like to ride a bike and run around.”
“What about you?” she asks Anger, who is getting a Master’s in higher education administration from the University of Alabama, and who also uses a wheelchair. “You haven’t had the experience of riding a bike like everyone else.”
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. This excerpt was edited by WBEZ.
“Everything that I’ve gotten in my life is somehow connected to me being disabled,” Anger said. “Which is weird because it’s not something that I like to use to identify myself, like, ‘That’s the wheelchair basketball player,’ or ‘That’s the guy in the wheelchair.’ And I don’t really like that per se, but then again everything I have gotten in my life is because I’m disabled. I wouldn’t have went to the University of Missouri to play basketball. I wouldn’t have started talking to you.”
And it’s the talking to each other that has helped sustain both of them through difficult times.
“It’s kind of hard for me to put into words,” Anger said. “She has a wonderful heart and personality.”
“He’s just very accepting of who I am regardless of any of my abilities or disabilities,” Wylie said.
“Living with a disability provides so many daily challenges,” she said. “And you have no idea what those challenges are going to be because everyday the challenge is something different. Dealing with that and pushing through it, are the hardest and most rewarding things.”
“There’s really nothing we can’t do together,” Anger said. “If you’re gonna get me to move back to the freezing cold Midwest, you can pretty much do anything because I will tell you that that was not on my plans and now there’s nowhere I don’t want to be as long as you’re there too.”