Kelley Fusco and her husband, Sal, of Seaford parted ways after dating for a year. Kelley recalls how they were reunited 13 years later.
Our story begins in the summer of 1996, when Sal was 20 and I was 19. I was at Kelsey's Pub, a bar in Levittown, for the first time. My friends and I were about to leave when Sal stopped me on my way out. I hadn't noticed him before. When he realized I was leaving, he asked for my phone number. I was very shy, and Sal completely caught me off guard. However, I was so overcome by his good looks that I grabbed a bar napkin and wrote my number down before walking out. He called a few days later.
Sal was from Levittown, and I lived in Seaford. We went out on a few infrequent dates over the next year before we both decided to move on. We ran into each other only once over the next 13 years.
When I was in my late 20s, my health began to decline due to cystic fibrosis, a condition I have had all my life. In 2009, I was placed on the list for a double lung transplant at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan and was finally blessed with a match, my second chance at life, on Feb. 22, 2010. It was time to start living again.
That November, Sal's name came up in a conversation with a friend I hadn't seen in some time. Afterward, I went onto Facebook and there, on the screen under "People You May Know," was Sal Fusco. His name never came up before on the list. It had to be a sign, so I made a "friend request" to him. He accepted the next day and called me. We were on the phone for hours.
Sal was divorced, had four children and was a union carpenter on Long Island. A week later, we met for coffee and a movie. We immediately clicked, and I was smitten all over again. Since that night, we have been inseparable. He has been such a huge support for me with my illness and all that comes with it. He is still a carpenter, and I am an insurance claims specialist.
On Valentine's Day 2012, he proposed, and for the next 17 months I planned the wedding of my dreams. On July 20, 2013, I married the love of my life and best friend on the beach at The Sands Atlantic Beach, surrounded by all of our amazing family and friends. It was a celebration like no other. My father and brother, both hospitalized for separate issues two weeks prior, were able to attend the wedding. My cousin Patrick officiated. We all danced the night away; it was a magical evening. The miraculous, selfless act of organ donation let me have this moment, which I never thought would happen.