"She has done so much for me over all of these years. Now she can't but I can, and I can return her love. And it's a love that, to me, means I can do everything for her," the doting husband said.
Every now and then, there comes along a couple who shares a relationship so deep that it restores our faith in true love. Bill and Glad Forward are one such pair, who have stood by each other through thick and thin for over 50 years. They weathered every challenge life threw at them, finding comfort in each other and their shared love for biking through the great outdoors. This continued even when Glad's health began declining at an alarming rate in 2004 and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease; it was cycling that gave them the means to cope with the changes she was going through.
"Our stories have been a lovely story. I first saw her when she was eight years old and her brother became my best friend," Bill said in a video by CVCNow. "We grew up together and as we grew up, yeah she was there... I knew that she used to stare at me when I was playing [football] with her brother another friend, and when we used to ride bikes. But I wasn't interested." He revealed that it all changed one day when he saw her all dressed up. "I was seventeen, she was sixteen, I saw her dolled up, dressed up, and she had an A-line dress on, and BOOM, it was gone. She was the one for me then, absolutely," he said with a laugh.
Not long after Glad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she began having difficulties walking on her own. Determined to maintain a sense of normalcy for his beloved wife, Bill started looking for ways they could continue enjoying their love for the outdoors. "Having lived and traveled in Asia, I remembered what people had done to bicycles to make food carriers or trishaws. I thought that we could modify a bike to enable us to continue these outings," Bill wrote on Facebook.
"I wanted the passenger seat in front of me so that we could see and talk about the same things together and then as her disability progressed, I would be able to see if she was in some difficulty or another," he continued. "The first bike I had made was unstable and dangerous, so I took the concept to my good friend, Ken, who immediately spotted the problems." With the help of his friend Ken McKenzie, Bill built a custom "Bike Chair" — a play on the words "bike" and "wheelchair" — that would let Glad ride comfortably in a seat in front while he pedals in back.
"We take it to the beach and ride along beside the beach. As we do that, we see a lot of people come talk to us because it's a unique thing. Nobody else has got a bike chair quite like that one," Bill revealed. "I am determined to care for her every need. You see, God has loved us so unconditionally and I understand that God has put his love in my heart. And because I realize how much God has loved me, that's how I too can love my lovely wife. She has done so much for me over all of these years. Now she can't but I can, and I can return her love. And it's a love that, to me, means I can do everything for her."
"I don't count it a burden whatsoever to care for her. I need to do everything, from the moment she gets up to the moment she goes to bed, I do absolutely everything. I clean her teeth, shower, dress, everything— but it's a privilege. I count it a great privilege to care for this woman I've loved all of these years and continue to love," he said. "She's my princess and I am her William. And I wouldn't have it any other way."