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Couples battling the same terminal illness share 'joy' in final months

A man suffering from Huntington's disease, married to his beloved a few months ago, died leaving his wife battling the same terminal. illness.

Sarah Mather, 38, and her 50-year-old Matt Weeks, both suffering from the same inherited terminal neurological disease, got married on May 21. "He gives me purpose," Smather toldPeopleafter her wedding. "I'm relieved to know there's someone for me."

The couple met in April 2021 at Summerfield Health Care Center in Cloverdale, Indiana. It is the only residential care facility in the United States that exclusively treats patients with Huntington's disease. ” From the moment they met.

The couple met in April 2021 and married May, 2022.
Robert Scheer/IndyStar/USA TODAY NETWORK
Smouther was diagnosed at 30 and Weeks at age 34.
Robert Scheer/IndyStar/USA TODAY NETWORK

Both had Huntington's disease. Huntington's disease causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain, resulting in loss of motor skills, cognitive function, thinking and mental disorders.

Because of the neurological effects of the disease on impulse control and consciousness, couples had to undergo a series of institutional steps to formally establish a relationship.

Weeks, who had been living at the facility since 2020, proposed on October 29, 2021, and the pair were married six months later. did.

According to Lindsay Williams, Smather's sister, her relationship with Weeks has given her a "new sense of joy" in falling in love and having someone who understands what she has been through.

The couple were inseparable from the moment they met.
Robert Scheer/IndyStar/USA TODAY NETWORK

Smouther, formerly The ex-executive publisher began exhibiting symptoms in her late 20s and was diagnosed with the disease that afflicted her grandmother and father when she was 30.

Sound His engineer Weeks was diagnosed at the age of 34 after seeing his family suffer from the same symptoms.

He spoke to his People magazine shortly before his death and, having lost most of his speaking ability, asked the facility administrator to translate. However, only Smather and the facility's employees could understand him.

Family member's said it gave them a 'renewed' sense of life after finding each other.
Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar/USA TODAY NETWORK

According to the Mayo Clinic, No treatment can stop the symptoms of Huntington's disease, but drug therapy can reduce some symptoms of movement disorders and psychiatric disorders. time is often about 10 to 30 years.

Facility manager Tasina Duncan told People that Weeks loved Smother and said she was "not alone anymore."

"I know he will be with her forever in her heaven," she said.

Dr. Christopher James, Smather's neurologist, agrees, saying they have a "special connection" that proves that love and friendship can exist even in tragic circumstances.

"It gave them a reason to live on," he said.

Weeks died Wednesday, his beloved wife dying "hand in hand."