Doctors told him to put his wife in a nursing home …

… instead, he wheeled her around the world.

(CNN) When Andy Fierlit’s wife suffered a brain aneurysm 27 years ago, doctors urged him to admit her to a nursing home. But Fierlit wanted to make their life ordinary again — or even extraordinary — so he embarked on a mission to show her the world.

Since then, Andy and Donna Fierlit have visited all seven continents — more than 20 countries, so far — with Andy doing the pushing while Donna, who is partially paralyzed, rides in a wheelchair.

“I made a promise to her that we would go on to work out as best a life as possible,” Andy tells CNN.

Today, Donna struggles with short-term memory loss. She relies on her husband to complete daily tasks and remains in her wheelchair. Still, the couple rolls on, committed to each other and to their vow to stay together “in sickness and in health.”

Humble beginnings

The high school sweethearts met 58 years ago at a church dance. Andy asked Donna for a stick of gum. “Get lost,” she said.

“I told her I wanted to marry her, and she said, ‘No, you’re not,'” Andy recalls.

He persevered, treating her “like a princess,” and after only a couple dates, she came around.

Five years later, they got married.

Early on, Andy’s employer went bankrupt, and to provide for his wife and their four children, Andy took odd jobs, such as peddling fruit. Now, as then, the Fierlits rely on one another and their shared sense of humor to thrive in the face of hard times.

Donna even named her purple wheelchair after the Tina Turner song, “Proud Mary,” because it keeps on rolling. But rolling around the world hasn’t always been so simple.

“The challenges are there,” Andy admits. “But if you think ahead and preplan, you can overcome them.” READ THE  FULL STORY AT CNN.


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