As much as most of us want to believe that we’re openminded, the truth is that the world can be an extremely shallow place. Even when somebody demonstrates kindness and has a perfectly normal personality, they can be shunned by society just for looking different, even if they can’t help their appearance.
It’s awful that many people who aren’t considered “conventionally attractive” often choose to stay outside of the public eye as much as possible. After all, why would anyone go out of their way to be harshly judged if they could help it?
Grigory Prutov of Russia had a rare condition that permanently altered the way he looked, and had experienced so much cruel treatment throughout his life that he was convinced nobody would ever fall in love with him. Yet his luck was about to change!
When Grigory Prutov was born, his parents, who lived in Vladivostok, Russia, were thrilled when they welcomed their happy and seemingly healthy second son into the world. He was doing as well as any other normal baby, although he did occasionally wake up with strange back pain.
Sadly, there was danger on the horizon. Grigory was diagnosed with muscular atrophy, which caused his spine’s muscles to wither away. Besides the fact that he now required round-the-clock care, this diagnosis also meant that he was unlikely to survive past his fourth or fifth birthday.
Yet Grigory’s parents refused to give up. They dedicated their lives to finding treatment for him, and while they never managed to uncover a cure, he survived.
Unfortunately, Grigory couldn’t walk, and by his 20th birthday he weighed just 45 pounds. Because he couldn’t move—and he received rude stares every time he went out—he mostly stayed in his own home, using the internet as his primary connection to the outside world. He was lonely.
One day, he vented about his struggles by posting this message: “It hurts to think about all the things that I can never have…” he began. “I can’t experience the world in all its beauty. I can’t swim in a river or in the ocean. I can’t run around in the grass without pain. I can’t help my friends carry things.”
“I can’t take care of the people I love. I can’t make them happy… and I’ll never know what it’s like to be loved, how it feels when someone wants you, when someone is jealous or proud to introduce you. I’ll never know what it’s like to hug someone I love, to protect her, to dance with her, to give her flowers or make her a gift.”
Grigory continued: “I’ll never be able to raise a son or a daughter. I’ll never stand in the maternity ward with a bouquet of roses and shout ‘I love you!’ I’ll never have a beautiful wedding and carry my bride across the threshold.”
Two months later, something incredible happened: Grigory started to have frequent conversations with another “hopeless romantic” with a love for art and writing named Anna, who lived in Kazakhstan. Grigory developed romantic feelings for her, and he suspected that it might be mutual.
Grigory was afraid of being too hopeful about developing a relationship with Anna, fearing her reaction to his condition. After a few weeks, he finally decided to make his feelings known—while also sharing a photo of himself for the first time. He was amazed when she decided to travel 1,860 miles to his home to see him!
The two fell so deeply in love that they decided to get married! What was meant to be a low-key, intimate wedding soon become a national phenomenon, with many people expressing shock that Grigory found his match, despite his condition.
The pair was certainly the subject of ridicule, with many wondering what an able-bodied woman like Anna could see in a physically challenged man like Grigory. Yet all that mattered to them was that they loved each other and were happy together. For all those who judged them, there were others who were inspired by their commitment to each other in spite of what the rest of society had to say about it.
For proof of how much Grigory and Anna love spending time together, look no further than their YouTube channel! While it’s not in English, you don’t need to speak their language to see that they have a special connection!
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