Tampa, Florida - For most people, finding love is hard enough. Now imagine trying to do that when you're confined to your house because of a disability.
It's a challenge millions of disabled people face every day. But a new website, founded by an Orlando woman, is trying to change that. It's called eDateAbility.com, and it was launched in November of 2010. Less than a year old, the site already has nearly 200,000 members across the U.S.
"Dating is difficult enough for people without disabilities," said certified matchmaker and eDateAbility.com CEO Ann Robbins. "When you compound that with being disabled... it makes it doubly difficult."
Bob Horan, 48, of Tampa knows that only too well. He'd been independent all his life, working as a handy man and suffering through back pain.
"I woke up one day in bed paralyzed," he recalled.
He was finally able to go home after spending two months in the hospital. That was more than two years ago.
Today, he is confined to a wheelchair and deals with constant pain. But he hasn't given up.
He lives alone, takes care of himself, and even created a pulley system to get his wheelchair down his front steps. But he needed a lot more help to re-enter the dating world.
"I went through a variety of sites, and nothing. [I] frustrated myself, and it's very depressing," he recalled. "I've even asked my friends, 'Why is there not a website for disabled people?' There seems to be one for every other perversion out there."
Eventually, he came across eDateAbility.com. He created a profile and listed his disability right on the front page. And that's exactly how he wanted it.
"Well, it allows you to just be yourself. You don't have to twist yourself around," he said.
So far, Bob has 53 buddies and has exchanged emails with a few women.
He hasn't found Mrs. Right yet, but he's having fun looking.
"I'm not just gonna sit here and let the days pass."