CHEK Upside: Cowichan Valley couple’s love story starts with shared wheelchair

CHEK Upside: Cowichan Valley couple's love story starts with shared wheelchair
CHEK
WatchWhile recovering from separate health battles, Bronwyn Berg and Hal Bennett met through sharing a rental wheelchair.

Bronwyn Berg and her partner Hal Bennett know adversity.

Six years ago Bennett suffered an infection after a kidney transplant that resulted in the amputation of both of his legs, while Berg suffered a brain injury, relegating her to a wheelchair.

It was on the road to recovery that the couple met — turns out they were using the same rental wheelchair.

“The loaner shop kept shuttling it back and forth between Kelowna and Kamloops whenever one of us wanted it,” says Berg.

Later, a chance encounter at a shopping mall brought the pair together.

“I saw him at the mall with the [chair] and I said ‘Hey, you’re the guy who has been stealing my chair,’ smiles Berg.

“I was like oh!” laughs Bennett.

“But there was a definite kid of immediate realization that this person’s going to be more and I had an immediate attraction to her,” adds Bennett.

After living together in Kelowna for a year they decided to move to the Island in 2019, settling in Chemainus, where they started their consignment store Clover Clothing Co.

“We’d found a community that we’d loved and we wanted to be able to actually say we’re legitimately apart of this community,” says Bennett.

“We wanted to open something that was inclusive and both financially accessible and accessible to disabled people,” says Berg.

In a time when many other businesses and relationships have failed, it’s their mutual understanding that’s helped them thrive.

“It’s been amazing because I don’t have to feel bad that I can’t contribute because he [Hal] understands my disabilities,” says Berg.

“Having to both explore our own disabilities and learn to understand each other’s disabilities really allowed us to connect in ways that I hadn’t before and don’t think I’ll ever be able to again,” says Bennett.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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