Ausnew Home Care | How finding love has changed Rebecca and Mitchell

How finding love has changed Rebecca and Mitchell

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When a wheelchair mini-van pulls up in the driveway of his mother's well-kept Calamvale home on Brisbane's southside, Mitchell Davidson is quick to unlock the back doors.

Inside is his new fiancee, Rebecca Preedy.

As she wheels out with the help of her carer, Rebecca waves her left hand in front of her beaming face, showing off a purple-stoned ring that sits neatly on her fourth finger.

"See?" she asks.

She's a whirlwind of energy and Mitchell's eyes light up at the sight of her.

He pauses behind her wheelchair until Rebecca reaches around, catches his hand, plants a kiss on his forearm and pulls him close.

"He always gives me lots of hugs," she announces.

There is no resistance from Mitchell, just a smile and the hint of a blush.

They clearly adore each other.

In a world where COVID, floods and war have been dominating the headlines, theirs is a simple story of two people finding love, despite some pretty significant personal obstacles.

Rebecca Peedy's engagement ring
Mitchell proposed to Rebecca with a $25 friendship ring on Valentine's Day.(ABC News: Steve Cavenagh)

Both Mitchell, 27, and Rebecca, 33, have autism, which can make it hard to find the special someone they'd dreamed of sharing their lives with.

Mitchell also has a brain condition known as hydrocephalus, while Rebecca also lives with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

Not quite love at first sight

They met at a Beenleigh day program for people with disabilities, a year ago.

It wasn't quite love at first sight.

"We argued," Rebecca said.

"I was on the phone and she was being loud," Mitchell said.

With a purple butterfly clip in her hair and a pink ruffle skirt, Rebecca is chatty and effusive — the perfect complement to the shy restraint of Mitchell, clean-cut in a navy shirt and jeans.

Rebecca Peedy smiling.
Rebecca lives with autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.(ABC News: Steve Cavenagh)

Together, they bounce off one another, finishing each other's sentences.

"Yeah the jokes," Mitchell agreed.

"We can muck around and be ourselves around each other," Rebecca added.

And what is it that Mitchell loves most about Rebecca?

"Everything. The kindness and the prettiness and that," he said sheepishly.

Rebecca cannot stop smiling.

There is a step at the front door of Mitchell's mother's home and Rebecca prepares to push herself up from her wheelchair, to walk inside.

Mitchell is there on the spot, holding Rebecca's hands as she tentatively stands, and provides a steady arm as she steps into the house.

His mother, Karenne Hills has never seen her son so attentive.

"I didn't know that Mitch would ever meet anybody. He's been his own person his whole life," Ms Hills said.

Karenne smiles at kitchen table.
Mitchell's mum Karenne Hills says she's "bursting with pride".(ABC News: Steve Cavenagh)

Ms Hills had always regarded Mitchell as her boy, who needed looking after, but now she sees a sensitive and kind young man.

"They're just perfect for each other. Mitch is really happy and I can see him putting his best foot forward for Rebecca," she said.

"I hear him encourage her to not take things personally when people might let her down or upset her in some way. I see him rush over and want to support her. I'm really proud of how he's putting someone else first.

"But she's great too and I think they complement each other in really special ways.

"Rebecca has ideas and is more proactive with things than Mitch is. She's got him doing things like setting goals for his life and things that he's never really thought of doing before."

Seizures replaced with roses

Rebecca's life has changed for the better too.

She previously experienced frequent seizures, often triggered by anxiety, sudden change or sensory overload.

Rebecca Preedy kisses her fiance Mitchel Davidson
Rebecca says Mitchell makes her feel calm, reducing the number of seizures she has.(ABC News: Steve Cavenagh)

However, since she and Mitchell have been together, there have been hardly any seizures.

"There's a change in me, like I'm being more calm — happier," Rebecca said.

"He calms me down, which is weird. No-one else can. Like even when I'm having a meltdown, when I call him, he just helps me somehow. I don't know how.

Ms Hills couldn't be happier.

"It makes me burst with pride. It's good for her and it's good for him," she said.

After a whirlwind romance, the couple became engaged on Valentine's Day.

"He got nervous and started pacing and I was thinking 'what's wrong with you?'" Rebecca said, recalling the day.

"I was just waiting for the right moment," Mitchell said.

"Then he said, 'do you want to…'" Rebecca turns to Mitchell before they say simultaneously "… get married?"

Rebecca Preedy and Mitchell Davidson smile on Valentines Day
Rebecca and Mitchell got engaged on Valentines Day.(Supplied)

Rebecca grins and looks up.

"I said 'yes!'"

Ms Hills only found out when they posted the engagement announcement on social media.

Mitchell calls out to his mother in the next room.

"I'm sorry for that, Mum," he said.

Ms Hills later admitted she knew something was afoot when Mitchell started paying more attention to how he looked.

"All of a sudden, he was asking me 'Mum, does this match this?' He was shaving and wearing aftershave, then I thought 'Aha!'" Ms Hills said.

"The engagement was a surprise but he said he wanted to do it his way, and I respect that."

Ms Hills and Rebecca already share a close bond. Rebecca is welcomed into the family home with hugs and kisses, and she frequently makes it known that she wants Ms Hills to play a big part in her future life.

A sense of security 

The union has also given Ms Hills a sense of security.

"The biggest worry I think for parents of children with special needs is, what will happen when I am not here… but I think, they're going to be OK," she said.

Mitchel Davidson and mum Karenne Hills in the kitchen.
Karenne says she noticed something was afoot when her son paid more attention to his appearance.(ABC News: Steve Cavenagh)

Rebecca has lived in care homes for most of her life. Mitchell is about to step into a life away from his mother's care for the first time.

A wedding date has not yet been set. They want to live in a group home together first and learn some more life skills.

Right now, they're discovering the art of romance. Mitchell recently presented his fiancee with a bunch of flowers.

"Pretty pink roses," Rebecca said.

"He walked in and this bunch of roses was in his hand and he gave them to me. I was really surprised and happy. I'd never actually got roses or flowers or anything romantic like that before."

They are looking forward to a long future together.

"Once we get married, that's it. We stay together forever," Rebecca said.

"Yep," Mitchell said.

Rebecca pulls Mitchell in and kisses him on the cheek.

They both smile.

"Nice," he said.

Source: ABC

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