By Martha Hewett @Martha_Hewett

AN INTERABLED couple are showing the world you can be a caregiver and have a healthy, romantic relationship

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Shot by: Kelly Kirchstein, Connor Burger

Producer: Martha Hewett, Ruby Coote

Editor: Pete Ansell

Kelly, 27, was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy – a neuromuscular disability affecting her muscle systems, limiting the use of her arms and having to use a wheelchair. She met Connor, 25, in 2012 after striking up a friendship online. They now live together in Ohio with Connor acting as boyfriend and full-time caregiver. Kelly told Truly: “Connor has given me the best care of my life; I couldn’t receive better care than what he’s giving me.” Initially, Kelly had reservations about Connor becoming her carer. “I wanted to keep our relationship and my caring very separate and I was very adamant about that.” But that all changed when Connor had to step in and help after Kelly’s carers failed to show up. Connor said: “I really didn’t see it as a job, I was ready to help Kelly from our first date.” Unfortunately, others have been quick to judge, failing to see Connor as Kelly’s boyfriend, but rather a relative or helper. Kelly even recalls a time where someone assumed Connor was her son: “That was really insulting, I don’t think I look like a mum!” Although their relationship may seem unconventional to some, to Kelly and Connor it’s perfect. Blending their romance with caregiving has meant Kelly always has the support she needs – with her condition and romantically: “It’s a full functioning relationship – you have all the same feelings, desires and needs.”