March 19, 2002
For two years, Martin and Diane Heyneman crossed paths, neither knowing the other existed. She worked in a Ventura office on one side of the hall; he attended a yoga class on the opposite side.
"At the time I didn't know it was yoga," said Diane, 37, "and I was always wondering what the freaks were doing there."
She gave little thought to the class -- which was for multiple sclerosis sufferers -- until she was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disease herself in 1994.
Diane contacted the local MS chapter for information but, as a single working mother, she did not think she had time to get involved. She became intrigued after the local group leader -- Martin, now 50 -- returned her call. "We ended up talking for like two hours," she recalled, and so she visited the group to meet "the voice."
The members met at Martin's Ventura duplex.
Where the couple now live.
"The powers that be are like, OK, we'll put him in front of your office door," Diane said. "And two years go by, and then they're like, OK, we'll give you MS and stick you in his living room. So it's always been this feeling of purpose."
"Amen," added Martin, dubbed "the quiet one" by his wife.
Within nine months they were married, with the blessing of Diane's daughter Ziah, now 14, who told Martin early on that she wanted a dad.
Ziah got her wish, officially, when Martin adopted her last year.
The couple participated in the annual MS Walk until it became too difficult for Diane to push Martin's wheelchair. This year they swam a mile instead, raising $2,000 for the cause that brought them together.
2001 © The E.W. Scripps Co.