Mike Sumner and Zoe Welch met on the Channel 4 show two years ago and are now planning to get married to make the most of the time they have left together.
Image: Mike Sumner)
It was a memorable television moment for fans of First Dates.
A woman slips a pin into one and her amazed date replies, “F *** ing hell!”
Two years after Mike Sumner, 38, and Zoe Welch, 31, got engaged.
But their joy was overshadowed by the heartbreaking news that he had a terminal motor neuron disease.
That means the former driving instructor may have as little as five more years to live.
Mike, from Grimsby, Lincs, was diagnosed after falling in love with Zoe in the hit Channel 4 series hosted by Fred Sirieix.
The pair filmed the show in the spring of 2020 but it only aired last October – with audiences watching in awe as Zoe landed a pint in seconds – and has been on repeat ever since.
Exactly two years later, Mike, who now uses a walker, decided to ask the question during a vacation lakeside walk in Florida.
“Because of my mobility issues, I can’t do it with my knee bent,” he said. When we got back, we popped a bottle of Prosecco that we had been waiting for in the fridge and then went out for a quiet meal. It is just perfect.
“I refuse to be somber about how long I will live. I was determined to live in the moment with Zoe and make the best use of the time left. ”
Zoe, who works for a banking consortium, said: “We had to wait a long time before we were able to date exactly because of the lockdown. Mike has a good sense of humor and we had a lot of laughs. “
Not long before the show, Mike was also diagnosed with autism.
Zoe said that neither that nor his MND affected their relationship, adding: “We’re getting through the day.”
The couple now live together in Nottingham. Mike has begun to feel the effects of the disease on his voice and balance, but is still able to drive.
“I have two cars,” he said. One is a two-seat MG with an open top.
“In the summer, we went out in the countryside. You can clear your mind. Great. I hope to continue driving for as long as I can. ”
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Mike, who lost her life to MND when she was in her 60s, added: “I am still optimistic about how much longer I have to live – people like Stephen Hawking and others I have read have lived 10, 15 and 20 years.
“Zoe is a huge inspiration to me. She is there to pick me up if I start to feel depressed.”
Zoe added: “The producers didn’t know we became a couple or about Mike’s MND. They were very pleased with us. They are talking about updating our story. ”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/first-dates-favourites-engaged-despite-26509533 First Dates favorites joined despite a devastating motor neurone diagnosis