Here, a free dating website – and community support site – for people living with disabilities.
Q I have a beautiful 47-year-old daughter who has a balance issue due to a neurological problem. Would you be aware of any online dating services specifically for people with physical handicaps? I would truly appreciate any information you could offer me. My daughter lives in St. Lazare, Quebec.
A Have I got a contact for you! Her name is Louise Maxwell and she lives in London, Ontario. Six years ago this very determined woman launched a free website for people living with disabilities. It’s a dating site, as well as a community support site for people living with varying forms and degrees of disabilities. It now has more than 7,500 registered members in Canada and the United States, and Louise, being very hands-on, has personally spoken to more than 3,600 of them.
Once you sign up you can build your own profile, search other people’s profiles, participate in group and private chats, forums, read people’s stories and listen to its member-run internet radio station. Louise’s instructions to me were straightforward: “Tell that mother my site is very safe. I weed out the frauds. That’s important, especially because our members are disabled and therefore more vulnerable. We’re like a family here and we take care of each other.”
Louise herself spent more than 10 years housebound after a serious car accident in Saudi Arabia led to a series of failed back surgeries and extended hospital stays. She was left in constant pain and with limited mobility. Her personal experience led to a new awareness of the needs of people living with disabilities and an understanding of how those disabilities can sometimes seem to shrink the world. So, she launched the website with her own money, borrowing against the equity in her family home. She says she’s sunk more than $100,000 of her own money into the venture.
Personable and helpful, Louise is often called ‘Mom’ by her members. “Tell this woman her daughter can have a lot of fun on this site,” she urged me. “Tell her it’s a place to come and meet people who share things in common and who are welcoming and non-judgmental.” Louise, who is now 67, says parents are often the ones to instigate their grown children’s registration and she’d be more than happy to talk to you and your daughter if you like.
“Whatever they need,” she told me, “have them come to me and I’ll try and get them started.” Louise’s website is www.soulfulencounters.com. Go to the contact page and send her an email. Rest assured she’ll get back to you Stella. I think you can count on it.
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A professional journalist for more than 25 years, Diane Sewell has written for some of the top newspapers and magazines in Canada and is a baby boomer herself. Her new blog “Boomerangst, Turning Dilemmas into Discoveries” is interactive with readers and focuses on life issues – like aging, dating, second marriages, sex, death, family and fashion. Diane will use her expertise to find the right expert to help solve your predicament, unearthing kernels of truth and quickly getting to the heart of the issue.
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