Hope and Steve Dezember
Hope and Steve’s love story began in April 2011. Four years before they officially became a couple, Hope was working as a therapist for drug and alcohol users. Steve was charged with DUI, and as part of his punishment, he was assigned to session with Hope. Four years later, their paths crossed again.
The couple both live in John’s Creek, which is near Atlanta, Georgia. In 2011, Steve was out with some friends when Hope walked in. She was meeting up with the same friends. When she saw Steve, she went over to him, and they started talking. She found him incredibly charming, sweet, and kind. The two sat together, and Steve was willing to listen to Hope complain about her ex for half the night. She says that he wasn’t judgmental and he didn’t make fun of her. He was just happy to be talking to her. What could have been an awkward night turned out to be a beautiful beginning for the two.
The First Date
The next day, Steve called Hope to ask her on a proper date. She says that he was very charming. He lit candles, had Frank Sinatra playing on the radio, and cooked crab legs. During dinner, Steve was eating his crab legs, and she noticed that his hands were shaking. They started shaking even more when he tried to get a bottle open. It turned out that Steve had been struggling with these symptoms for two years, but his doctor had misdiagnosed him several times. Steve played hockey for years, and broke several bones and had nerve damage. He also had to have a metal plate inserted in his foot. The doctors believed that Steve’s symptoms were all associated with his previous hockey injuries.
In August 2011, Steve went to see another doctor who diagnosed him with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The condition attacks the nerve cells in the brain and the spine. The symptoms cause muscle spasms and stiffness. Eventually, the patient loses all ability to talk, move, breathe, and swallow. It was a terrifying diagnosis. When Steve was diagnosed, he and Hope were only dating for four months. Hope was with him when they got the diagnosis and was devastated when the doctors said that he only had between two and five years left.
A Difficult Prognosis
The prognosis wasn’t good, and Hope knew it. Although the two were dating for just four months, Hope told Steve that she was going to stand by him. Steve didn’t want to waste a minute of the little time that he had left, but he didn’t want to put more on Hope than he could handle. The next day, he reminded Hope about how the doctor said that he would start losing control. He told her that if she wanted to leave, she could. She told him that she wasn’t going anywhere, and Steve knew what he had to do.
Three days after Steve’s doctor diagnosed him with ALS, he took Hope for a walk along the Chattahoochee River. It was a walk that they took all the time. Steve took her there for a reason. She told him that she wanted to stand by him no matter what, so he had a question to ask her. Steve looked at Hope and said, “I know you said you’re always going to stay with me. If you are, will you marry me?” Hope didn’t hesitate; she had no reservations, she didn’t even think that it was too soon. She immediately said, yes. Her friends and family members felt that she was crazy and that it was too soon to get married. She didn’t care. She wanted to be with Steve.
Two months after Steve got his diagnosis and proposed, the two got married. They wanted to get married right away, while Steve was still healthy enough to stand at the altar and dance at his wedding. They had a wonderful time at their wedding, and they went to a private island in Belize for their honeymoon. Their friends all pitched in to give them the honeymoon of their dreams. Steve was still walking, and they wanted to have fun while they could. Hope admits that they were both a bit in denial, and didn’t realize how quickly the disease would progress.
The day after the wedding, Steve took part in a blind clinical trial that lasted two months. His health started to decline. They hoped that the changes were due to the medication that he was taking, rather than the disease progressing. Steve was struggling to walk, and him being in a wheelchair was the hardest thing for him to accept. Five months after the wedding, he was in a wheelchair full-time. With Steve in a wheelchair, Hope gave up her job to care for Steve full time. Despite being in a wheelchair, they kept living their lives to the fullest. They spent the next 18 months traveling from California to New York City. Their happiest time was in April 2013, when they attended Florida’s Wanee Music Festival. Even though Steve was in a wheelchair, he was able to dance with his wife. Hope helped him up, and they danced together on stage.
When the couple was in Pennsylvania in April 2013, Steve got pneumonia. She rushed him to a hospital in Georgia, and he had to have an emergency tracheotomy. He hasn’t been able to speak since. At this point, their lives were all about hospital visits. They would be home for a day or two, and he would have to go back. He died twice, but the doctors managed to bring him back. Steve started to lose weight, and he was down to 67 pounds. Next, he developed gastroparesis, where the stomach is not able to empty itself of food. He threw up everything that hope fed him. She fought with the insurance company to get him alternative food sources. Finally, they inserted a feeding tube. In January 2014, he was put on a ventilator to help him breathe.
Hope For Steve
Steve is completely confined to a bed now, but Hope hasn’t left his side. Their story interested a filmmaker, and a documentary about Steve, Hope, and ALS was made called Hope For Steve. He has surpassed the lifespan that his doctors gave him, and hopes to be around for a while longer. He wants to be around long enough for doctors to find a cure. A Man Proposed Just Days After His ALS Diagnosis – And Eight Years Later Hope Has Kept Him Alive.