Celebrating a Marriage and ‘a Second Chance at Life’

Neither Jill Meredith Schreider nor Adam Jesse Jankelowitz drinks much alcohol — if any. But on their first date, both were too polite to interrupt the server’s lengthy presentation about the restaurant’s four-page tequila menu.

They matched on the dating app Plenty of Fish in December 2019, and had their first date at Temazcal Tequila Cantina in Dedham, Mass. — halfway between where Mr. Jankelowitz lived in Sharon and Ms. Schreider’s home in West Roxbury.

Near the start of the date, Mr. Jankelowitz told Ms. Schreider that he had a liver transplant when he was 2 because of tyrosinemia, a genetic disorder characterized by the body’s inability to break down the amino acid tyrosine.

“Immediately I was invested,” Ms. Schreider said.

Mr. Jankelowitz takes a daily anti-rejection drug and can’t drink alcohol at all. Ms. Schreider, on the other hand, might have a cocktail on a special occasion, but she generally prefers a Diet Coke.

They bonded over the fact that they were both close to their grandmothers and had connections to Boston University. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Jankelowitz was a season-ticket holder of the university’s hockey team for 18 years. Ms. Schreider, a social worker, holds a Master of Social Work degree from the school and teaches in the social work program as an adjunct professor.

A few days after their first date, they met again over burgers, and they continued seeing each other regularly over the next few months. The beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 forced a decision: whether they would form a quarantine pod. While they didn’t move in together then, they spent most of the lockdown working remotely in an apartment Mr. Jankelowitz’s father owned in Amherst, Mass.

Mr. Jankelowitz, 35, has a bachelor’s degree in history from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, N.H. He is a pharmacy compliance analyst with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts in Hingham, Mass.

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Ms. Schreider, 37, has a bachelor’s degree in education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. Besides teaching at Boston University, she works as a family services coordinator at Baby University, a support program by the city of Cambridge that serves families with toddlers and infants.

In May 2021, Mr. Jankelowitz moved into Ms. Schreider’s condominium in West Roxbury. A few months later in November, during a routine medical checkup, Mr. Jankelowitz’s doctor asked if he wanted to contact the parents of his liver donor. When Mr. Jankelowitz brought it up with Ms. Schreider, she encouraged him.

“I thought this could be so powerful for them, too,” Ms. Schreider said of the parents.

“Jill is so caring and always makes sure I do the right thing,” Mr. Jankelowitz said.

Soon he exchanged emails and had a video call with his donor’s parents — Alrick and Sherri Hale — in Whitefish, Mont. Their son Hunter, the second of four children, had died as a baby from sudden infant death syndrome. The Hales donated Hunter’s heart, liver and corneas to three different children. So far, Mr. Jankelowitz has been the only recipient to contact them.

One evening at home in January of this year, Mr. Jankelowitz asked Ms. Schreider if she would like to be engaged — in his characteristically low-key way. He proposed with his maternal grandmother’s diamond ring. Known in the family as “Bubba,” she had been very close to Mr. Jankelowitz. She had died earlier that month because of complications from the coronavirus.

Ms. Schreider quickly said yes. “Adam has this quiet but warm presence, and our values are really aligned,” she said.

They were married on Oct. 29 in front of 133 guests at the Inn on Boltwood in Amherst by Rabbi Karen Landy, the manager of religious and spiritual care services at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston.

During the reception, Mr. Jankelowitz made a toast to the Hales: Despite their heartbreaking loss, they “gave me a second chance at life,” he said. “It’s the best gift I’ll ever get.” The Hales received a standing ovation.

The wedding also fell on the Hales’s 40th wedding anniversary. When the Hales received a save-the-date notice, they said, there was no question that they would attend. The Friday before the wedding, the two couples met in person for the first time over dinner in Boston. The couples also have other little details in common: Both Mr. Jankelowitz’s mother and Ms. Hale’s grandmother are named Esther, for example.

“There’s some sort of divine intervention or guardian angels at work here,” Ms. Hale said. “It was definitely meant to be.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com