When Kerry Lewis and Neil Young began dating, there was one extra caring commitment for them both to consider...
And just as their love has blossomed, with a May wedding on the horizon, so their relationship with 14-year-old John* has flourished through their dedication as carers.
Redcar and Cleveland Council is highlighting their partnership and John's progress to promote Share The Care Week, from March 19-March 25, hoping more people will be persuaded to follow the couple's shining example.
Kerry's links with John, who has special needs, dates back nine years. She remembers: "I was giving him one-to-one care at school then he needed care at home - so I took him, took my work home! And it went from there - I fell into it, then fell in love with him."
Neil, who works for the Council as a school sports co-ordinator, explained: "I fell into the role with dating Kerry - John came with that. It was hard at first, he was a bit jealous with a new person on the scene. But now we're best friends. It's different every day - he's fun, enjoyable, like having another brother rather than being a dad."
And Kerry agrees: "He's like my little kid brother. We have him several nights a month, it's still extremely challenging, but it's really rewarding and great to see how John has developed. It makes me really proud. How long will I do it? For as long as he needs me - forever."
The Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Social Well Being Councillor Valerie Halton said: "Kerry and Neil are marvellous examples of the sort of people we would welcome with open arms.
"Foster carers who join the Shared Care scheme provide not only a break for parents and siblings, but also a different environment that offers her or him different experiences of life, which can spread horizons and improve wellbeing."
Glynis Horner, the Shared Care scheme's social worker, explained: "We have eight shared care foster carers who offer respite care to a number of families and we are always looking to recruit new carers for whom we provide training and ongoing support."
Anyone interested can ring 01642 495910 for an informal chat.
*John is not his real name.