The love story between 37-year old Chris Plum and 42-year old Margaret or “Muffi” Lavigne is already special, as they met and were married two years later at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, Connecticut, where they were both being treated for muscular dystrophy. Their story of not only love but also overcoming the difficulties of their disease has led to the creation of a compelling documentary from the New York Times.
Living with the disabling and progressive disease since childhood, both Chris Plum and Muffi Lavigne had to seek help as adults at the Hospital for Special Care when their muscular dystrophy started to deteriorate. It was there that they met. While they both wanted to find love, neither of them expected to find it in a hospital.
“Everybody expects ‘the one.’ I did not expect to find it here, of all places,” Muffi says in the documentary that tells their story, entitled “Good Night, Margaret,” by Rick Gershon and Catherine Spangler. “It was definitely always something I really wanted, a woman to be with, to be my companion,” added Chris. “But it seemed very unlike that it was gonna happen.”
Muffi was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of seven, but she never considered herself a disabled person, and neither did her parents — just that she had to do things differently. However, after living for ten years alone in Washington D.C. and graduating from UConn, she felt that the progressive symptoms of the disease wouldn’t let her continue to pursue her master’s degree in architecture in Illinois as she had planned, and that she needed to seek help.
While both of them describe their experiences as youngsters and how they traveled and enjoyed being teenagers and young adults, Plum admits in the documentary that he was more secretive about muscular dystrophy, and he didn’t want people to know. Being a progressive condition, their disability continued to worsen throughout their childhoods, and eventually both of them stopped walking and had to start using a wheelchair. It took Chris a full year to accept having healthcare providers coming to his house to assist him.
Muffi entered the hospital in 2008, and Chris in 2011. Living in the same unit, in rooms next door to each other, one of the staff from the hospital acted as cupid and told Muffi that Chris had a crush on her. Even though he started talking to her and looking for her attention, everything seemed very confusing for Muffi when Chris asked her out on a date.
Movies, taking walks in the hospital gardens under the sun and spending the day together was their way of dating. Chris even dedicated a song to Muffi called “Good Night Margaret,” and in 2013 the two got married. The ceremony took place the same place where Chris proposed, in the gardens of the hospital. “I realized all the suffering in the hospital led up to me meeting her and finding the love of my life, and really finding true happiness. I wasn’t sure if it was ever gonna happen before,” Chris explained.
“Sometimes it just blows me away that he looks at me and wants me,” Muffi said as they exchanged compliments, noting that she believes Chris is a kind of gentleman that rarely exists. “I’ve had people ask me, ‘do you ever wish you could walk again or not have the disease?’ But I’ve got Chris.”
“I can’t imagine not feeling this way. Ten years down the road, I’m always gonna want to hold hands, have him touch me. If one of us gets sick that might change things, but if we are together, wherever that is, we are home,” she added.
Watch the full, 11-minute documentary below: