COMM: This is Candy, she fell in love with Max. COMM: As an interabled couple, they’re no stranger to tough judgment. CANDY PARFITT: There was the guy who asked me how much you pay me. MAX STAINTON: Oh, in the street, yes, yeah. CANDY PARFITT: To be your girlfriend, yes. The most invasive questions that people ask are about ‘toileting and sex’. COMM: But just how far will they go to prove society wrong? CANDY PARFITT: We met that typical story of ‘the PA and the disabled person fall in love.’ It’s a classic. MAX STAINTON: You were my PA at work, I think I’m taking it. CANDY PARFITT: When we got together, that’s when I started to do the intimate things. MAX STAINTON: I have cerebral palsy, I’ve had it since, since birth. Well, that means that kind of, day-to-day basis is that I kind of need help with kind of everything. Everything physical thing I do, it hasn’t affected my mental capabilities or capacities. It has like, completely affected my physical abilities. I need help with getting out of bed, brushing my teeth, helping me to get dressed, feeding me. At first, I didn’t want you to do any caring for me. CANDY PARFITT: I think you were worried that it would be too much for me and then that would drive me away. If you said, “Now you’re going to do all of my care and look after me”. MAX STAINTON: You can’t just assume that someone is comfortable doing all that right from the get-go. CANDY PARFITT: Indeed, except I was. One of the concerns that my family had was that caring would be this kind of, big thing that would take away from my life and I wouldn’t be able to fulfil my dreams because I’d be spending all of my time caring for Max. That’s not how I ever felt because actually being your carer has allowed me to do lots of things that I never would have had the opportunity to do before. I don’t ever resent you for needing care and I don’t ever feel like, it’s too much for me to do or that I don’t want to do it. COMM: When Candy and Max got together, she was surprised at how openly they were judged in public. CANDY PARFITT: People stare a lot, people will stare, they’re curious. We don’t look like an average couple. Max doesn’t really notice these things; he’s had to deal with it his whole life and so he never really notices people staring. What springs to mind is the thing where they say that I must be super good and angelic to be with you! MAX STAINTON: Right.
CANDY PARFITT: Which sounds like, a compliment. But I don’t think that that’s actually a very helpful thing to say. COMM: People didn’t seem shy to make their opinions known. CANDY PARFITT: There was the guy, who asked me how much you pay me. MAX STAINTON: Oh, in the street, yes, yeah.
CANDY PARFITT: To be your girlfriend, yes. I think the most invasive questions that people ask are about toileting and sex. And it’s you know, “How does he pee?” and “Can you do it?” I’m a bit like, “Mind your own business” but then at the same time,
MAX STAINTON: Yeah. CANDY PARFITT: He pees the normal way and yeah, we can. I think online I see more negativity than in person. MAX STAINTON: Yes, yes exactly.
CANDY PARFITT: And obviously that’s people hiding behind the kind of, anonymity of it all. MAX STAINTON: It was clear that like, people were not happy with what they, what they were seeing. In India, one of the people in the airport was like, “Are you two brother and sister?” CANDY PARFITT: We don’t even look alike. I was like, “No, boyfriend and girlfriend” and she was like, and then she said, “What happened to him?” and I was like, “Nothing”. CANDY PARFITT: At first, I was really aware that people were looking at us and if we were kissing or having any kind of, public display of affection that people would be judging but it’s just more that they would be looking at us and now actually I’ve noticed that I don’t notice. COMM: Despite the new relationship that was blossoming at home, Max had a big ambition that could potentially derail their romance. MAX STAINTON: I’ve always had this dream of like, riding up some mountain on horse. Had shared that dream with some friends of mine and, and they thought it was awesome and wanted to help me do that. COMM: The plan was to become the first disabled person to trek to Everest Base Camp on horseback. MAX STAINTON: I assumed right from the get-go that Candy would not be interested in coming. COMM: He knew it would be a challenge but wasn’t prepared for just how physically and mentally gruelling the expedition would become. MAX STAINTON: Half way through the trek I was like, “Actually this is horrific.” There was one day in particular where it was like, absolutely finished. Hey, that’s a good one. I’m looking like, I’m dying. I think it’s the second day of Everest. MAX STAINTON: Yeah, we nearly gave up. What made that the hardest thing was, the horse kicked me four times, it rolled with me on it and it was the day that obviously I had to climb like, what would it be normally like, a two three hour trek for like, everyone else. It turned out into like, a six hour trek for me because I was doing so much walking up what seemed like, a never-ending hill, and it was this intense, painful, hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life like, it was soul destroying. CANDY PARFITT: From my perspective I was like, “I don’t want to send him off to you know, somewhere dangerous and not go look after him there.
MAX STAINTON: Yeah. COMM: But with Candy there by his side every step of the way, Max achieved his dream. MAX STAINTON: Thank God you came because I don’t think I would have made it without you. CANDY PARFITT: That was a big part of how our relationship kind of, became serious. MAX STAINTON: Yes, I’m incredibly proud that we as a team collectively got through. All those days that were all incredibly tough, I knew in my heart of hearts I could do it. CANDY PARFITT: It was a world first; nobody had ever done that before. MAX STAINTON: I’m incredibly happy to have done what is a monumental challenge and have completed it. We need more representation of disabled people doing things that people didn’t expect them to do. COMM: Finally, they done it, Max had become the first person with cerebral palsy to reach the 17,600ft elevation of Everest Base Camp. COMM: Challenge completed – Max and Candy are now about to embark on their next adventure. MAX STAINTON: My dream wedding was a big wedding in a Tuscan castle. CANDY PARFITT: My dream wedding was like, a register office in a restaurant. I think we’ve settled in the middle somewhere. MAX STAINTON: Yes, yeah we have, yeah. COMM: With five months till the big day, they have one more arrangement left to consider. CANDY PARFITT: Are you going to choose like, the flashiest possible suit? MAX STAINTON: I don’t think so. CANDY PARFITT: They’re going to have to measure you really carefully. I think for most people, they fit the suit thinking that the person is going to be standing up. MAX STAINTON: I think I want to stand, obviously with help. CANDY PARFITT: You don’t stand, you sit.
MAX STAINTON: That’s true. CANDY PARFITT: So, they need to think about that as well. COMM: With the plan in place, it’s time to find the perfect suit. MAN: Measurements are done.
MAX STAINTON: Thank you, it was very good guys.
MAN: Well done. MAX STAINTON: There you go.
MAN: Thank you Max, it was lovely having you. MAX STAINTON: It was fantastic, thanks so much. I thoroughly enjoyed that. MAX STAINTON: It was amazing, it went super well, by far the best kind of, thorough suit fitting I’ve ever had. The colours we chose are really, really nice. CANDY PARFITT: Yeah, you’re going to look super sharp.
MAX STAINTON: Are really awesome. CANDY PARFITT: Super fly.
MAX STAINTON: Yeah exactly yeah. COMM: Suit sorted, wedding planned. For Max and Candy, the future looks bright. MAX STAINTON: I think the best thing about our relationship is we just have fun together. We’re always just laughing and, and being happy, always sharing each other’s experiences. I think it ends up for a much like, stronger, more holistic relationship. Because we’re not kind of, bound by any societal norms of what we can/can’t do.