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Episode 38: Love Made Simple with Alexa and Jacqueline Child of DateAbility

In this Quest Podcast episode, we chat with the founders of DateAbility, a dating application geared towards individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Alexa and Jacqueline Child have devoted their time to create a safe and accepting space that allows individuals to create meaningful connections Their goal is to make love accessible for everyone. These ladies join us to share their experiences, expertise, and advice.  

Read the interview below or check out the podcast here.

Mindy Henderson: Welcome to The Quest Podcast, proudly presented by the Muscular Dystrophy Association as part of the Quest family of content. I’m your host, Mindy Henderson. Together we are here to bring thoughtful conversation to the neuromuscular disease community and beyond about issues affecting those with neuromuscular disease and other disabilities and those who love them. We are here for you to educate and inform, to demystify, to inspire and to entertain. We are here, shining a light on all that makes you, you. Whether you are one of us, love someone who is, or are on another journey altogether, thanks for joining. Now, let’s get started.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day. My guests for today are Alexa and Jacqueline Child, sisters and co-founders of DateAbility, a dating app geared toward individuals living with disabilities or chronic illness. Alexa graduated from Georgetown Law in 2015 and currently works as a public interest attorney. Through witnessing her sister’s experience with disability, Alexa has become an advocate and an ally for the disability community. She’s passionate about social justice, enjoys TV and film, and loves all things Halloween, which I think is really fun.

And next we have her sister Jacqueline, who has turned her experience with disability and chronic illness into this new venture. As I mentioned, she created DateAbility with her sister after years of discouraging ableist experiences on the mainstream dating apps. When she isn’t managing her health, Jacqueline enjoys playing guitar reading and spending time with her family and dogs. I am also a dog person, so I’ve got to ask first, what kind of dogs do you have?

Jacqueline Child:  Yeah, so my dog is a lab mix. She’s a rescue. I rescued her on a whim in college. And then our family dog is a very sweet golden retriever.

Mindy Henderson:  I have a golden retriever mix who is the naughtiest little puppy dog you have ever seen in your life, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We should do a dog podcast, but another day, another time. So just want to thank you both for being here. I’ve had the opportunity to meet you on one or two other occasions, and I’m fascinated by your story and this product that has grown like gangbusters and is super popular. I told you before we started recording that so many people have requested you on the podcast, so really excited to have you here today.

Jacqueline Child:  We’re so excited to be here.

Mindy Henderson:  Thank you. So whoever wants to kick us off, would you mind telling us a little bit about your story and how this app came to be? I’d love to hear some of your experience with the other dating apps and what it was that was disillusioning and really prompted you to go on this journey?

Jacqueline Child: Yeah, so hi everyone. I am Jacqueline and I am about to turn 30 in a few months. My desire to create DateAbility really stemmed from my personal experience living with chronic illness and disabilities and seeing how ableist the world is and specifically, that manifesting in the dating space. I started to use the dating app seriously after graduating college, and that was when I moved to Denver with Alexa. She wasn’t on the apps at this time, but I was, and I quite honestly could not get past a first date or even get a date, and I really do attribute that to my chronic illnesses. Alexa and I are very similar. Our values are the same, our interests are the same and the one thing that really makes us different is the fact that I’m chronically ill and she is not. It was really hurtful to go through these experiences with people either rejecting me after I’ve mentioned my disability or saying some offensive comments like telling me what to do with my body, not having children, so on.

Then also people’s families telling them not to date me because of my complex medical history. And at this time I was going through a lot with my health. It was very, very unstable. And while now I’m still, I battle these illnesses every day, my health has stabilized to where I know what to expect every day. But a couple years ago it was up and down, surgeries, procedures, all these different experimental treatments, and I always wondered how is someone going to handle this? I felt like a burden. People told me I was a burden.

Mindy Henderson: Wow.

Jacqueline Child:  It really quite honestly sucked. I would look at Alexa and she would have people knocking down the door to take her on a date and she was having to turn people down and people were begging to go out with her. And I was like, “What? Why?” I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I really wanted to find a space where I could meet people like me. I am really the only disabled person in my circle and my friend group and prior to starting DateAbility, I really wasn’t involved in this space. So I wasn’t able to talk to many people about my experiences and I just kept reiterating. I just wish there was something, some apps, some place where I could meet people like me. And so we decided to create it ourselves.

Mindy Henderson:  I love it, I love it. And so often those are the most successful things because you discover a need in your own life and therefore it becomes something that you’re passionate about and have a real personal drive for. And I think clearly that’s what happened with both of you and hearing your story, my goodness, I can’t believe the nerve of people. I don’t want to focus on the negative, but just listening to some of the things that you had to deal with. I didn’t share initially, I think you probably know I’m a wheelchair user myself, and I did the dating app thing before, married my husband, which has been, we’ve been married for a minute now. But dating, I think no matter how you slice it, is hard. And dating with a disability, there are even a few more complexities. What people think is okay to say to you, the unsolicited advice, things like that, it never ceases to amaze me.

But good for you for taking your power back and building out this app. So I feel like I want to get the stats of the app. Is it a free app? How many active members do you have? Those sorts of things. And how long have you been around at this point?

Alexa Child: We launched October 21st, 2022, so just a little over a year old. We have over 14,000 users across North America, so mostly United States, but some in Canada, and we’re hoping to expand geographically internationally this year or next. The app is free. There will always be a free version. Accessibility really is our top priority, and that not just goes for creating a safe and accessible community, but also making the cost accessible. Eventually we’ll implement a subscription model, but there will always be something free and it won’t be as restrictive as some of the other apps have it. So we’re excited about that. We are available on Apple, on iPhones, Androids and web apps. So talking about accessibility, we understand that some people prefer to use or need to use their desktop laptop and want to access the app on their web browser. And so we made it so that they have that capability, which a lot of the other apps do not have.

Mindy Henderson:  Amazing. Did either of you have a tech background before this?

Jacqueline Child:  No.

Alexa Child: No. [inaudible 00:09:19].

Mindy Henderson: Do you have incredible people that you were able to tap into or did you figure it out as you went?

Alexa Child: We found a tech team, some consultants to start us and to get the first version of the app out and the iterations that followed. Then now we are transitioning to an in-house team, so they will be really part of DateAbility. They won’t be consultants, and we’re going to roll out new features with them. So we’re really excited.

Jacqueline Child: It’s really funny, because we were just like, “Oh, let’s make an app.” And then we just decided what we needed to do to create an app that literally included taking a notebook and drawing what we wanted each screen to look like. Then I went into Photoshop and Photoshopped things together. And so it was really grassroots [inaudible 00:10:19]. But it worked for us and I think it makes it even more rewarding that we didn’t have any background in this. All we knew is that we have the entrepreneurial spirit and we credit that to our dad and we believed that we could do it.

Mindy Henderson: That’s so great. That’s really fantastic. And it’s a really good, I think, lesson for other people out there to hear because there are so many people out there that have dreams and ambitions and ideas and things, but so often you hear people say, “Well, I don’t know where to start.” And things like that. And I think it’s really just about solving one problem at a time and tackling one thing at a time until you’ve made some progress and then that builds momentum. So I’m very impressed and I can’t believe that you’ve only been around for a year. It feels like so much longer than that that I’ve been hearing about you already. So you’ve definitely created a presence for yourself. I’m curious, is this dating service exclusively for individuals with disability or chronic illness, or is it open to everyone but geared with an overarching mindset of inclusion?

Jacqueline Child: Yeah, we really wanted to make it inclusive, and that includes non-disabled people.

Mindy Henderson: Okay.

Jacqueline Child: When we first were starting, we were toying around with the idea of do we just keep it to people with disabilities? And that is not only excluding allies and advocates, but it also could be really hard to verify. And I think that requiring this information could take a lot of effort and I’m not sure how many people would do that for a dating app. And so yeah, we want people to just be willing to join and those people who have the same values and respect our community.

Alexa Child: Yeah, and I think it’s important to note that by creating DateAbility, we’re not saying that disabled people should or can only date other disabled people. I do think that it really helps when you meet somebody who views the world in a similar way to you or has similar values or a similar understanding. And so I think that that is really helpful. And a lot of times that can come when you get another person with a disability, but there are plenty of empathetic and compassionate non-disabled people out there who are open-minded and adaptable. And so I think it’s important to welcome them on the platform and really let everyone meet their person.

Mindy Henderson: I actually really love that. I like that better than if it were just an exclusive place for people with disabilities. And I hadn’t even thought about the verification factor of verifying disability or conditions or that sort of thing. So that makes a ton of sense to me. I also have to ask, and again, this is going to be the last negative question that I ask, but I think we all know that there are people out there who aren’t on dating apps in general for the right reasons. You hear horror stories about people scamming people and just a variety of different things. So how do you ensure that people are there for the right reasons, that no one’s using your app that has crazy fetishes or things like that where they’re looking to be a little bit nefarious?

Alexa Child: I think for the fetish aspect and the term devotee, we didn’t really know anything about that until we started creating DateAbility. And then people would express their concerns and I think that’s probably partly because a lot of Jacqueline’s disabilities are invisible, although they manifest physically, you wouldn’t be able to tell. So she’s not particularly vulnerable to those type of people and we didn’t know about it. When we started to do this on this venture and on this journey, we downloaded every so-called disabled dating app out there. You do a Google search and stuff will come up. We downloaded, between the two of us, every single one, and they either would crash immediately or it was definitely more of a fetish devotee scenario. It was pretty obvious by the users on there. And so we crossed our fingers and prayed that we didn’t see that. Because it is largely out of our control. We can remove those people from the app and then-

Mindy Henderson: Right.

Alexa Child:  [inaudible 00:15:19] consensual devotee, that the relationship they’re seeking, they will be removed from the app, but we haven’t seen that. I think the reason we haven’t seen that is because we really put our faces out there and our story and these other apps, you don’t know who the founder is, there’s no accountability. I think that it changes and it encourages these people to join. And with DateAbility, we’re out there, our faces are all over and we are the brand. And so I do think it urges them. And then in terms of scamming and stuff, that’s unfortunately every social…

Mindy Henderson:  It is.

Alexa Child: That’s like the internet, it is Instagram, Facebook, it doesn’t even matter.

Mindy Henderson: Yep.

Alexa Child: Concert tickets before on Facebook, it’s everywhere. And so we have a couple of safety measures. One, we implemented a profile verification feature. So if you verify your profile, which is reviewed by us, you get a badge. And so while we can’t ensure that that person is a good person, we can ensure that you’re not being catfished. The person in the photos is the person that you’re talking to. We also have block or report buttons on every profile, and we go through those multiple times a day. And then we have a safety tutorial upon onboarding. Because really at the end of the day, the internet is what it is and there’s only so much we can do. Educating our users is probably the best form of defense. And so we give them red flags to look out for and what to do and encourage them to report users that might be telling them that they want to chat outside of the app right away, which is a red flag. Or asking for financial information. And so we definitely provide that to our users and really just try to keep them aware.

Mindy Henderson: That’s great. That’s great. And I’m actually surprised that you haven’t seen more in the way of this bad behavior stuff, because you’re absolutely right, the internet and just technology in general, it’s a really big problem and I’m sure is something that you put a lot of thought into. It’s really great. I think that you haven’t seen as much or any of that. That makes me feel a little bit better about things and the dating landscape.

Alexa Child: I credit Jacqueline for that too. She is on the app all the time looking from our portal, looking at new signups. So anyone that seems suspicious or seems like maybe they’re accessing it via VPN and they’re not from this country, we remove them. We remove them immediately. And so I really do credit Jacqueline for the safety of our app.

Jacqueline Child: Thank you.

Mindy Henderson: So nice. So nice. So is disclosing what specific disability or diagnosis a user has part of their profile? Or is it up to each user to choose when and how much to disclose?

Jacqueline Child: Yeah, so our section on every profile, it’s called DateAbility Deets, and it’s an extensive list of broad terms that vaguely describes someone’s disability. Could be wheelchair user, immunocompromised, neurodivergent and it’s completely optional, but people can check those off and it will show up on their profile after basic information, similar to selecting interests. And this has been a really great feature because people can disclose it in a way that it’s not very detailed, but it’s at least out there. It’s neutrally presented, and it’s a part of me. That’s been great because that’s something that I struggled with was disclosing. Disclosing, it’s really tricky. You got to know your audience and typically if you’re talking to a non-disabled person, the audience isn’t going to understand or it’s not going to be well received.

And so it feels really nice to be able to just… Yeah, it’s a part of me and it is here and I’m not ashamed of it. We’ve received great feedback about this feature and that people are like, “I can finally just have it out there on my profile and I don’t need to worry about when to tell someone that I’m a wheelchair user.” That’s been really nice to see.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah. And I loved the word neutral. I can’t remember the full phraseology that you used, but I like that it’s there, but it’s there in a very unobtrusive neutral way because while it is, of course, a part of who we are, it’s not who we are. And I love that it’s not that you’re downplaying it. It’s there for anybody that cares. But yeah, there’s more to a person than just their disability or their illness. I like the way that you handle it. So with any dating app, it can be hard to figure out what to share and how to navigate that first conversation. What are some of your golden rules? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of dating and dating apps at this point. Some of your golden rules for do’s and don’ts for that first phone call or a first in-person meeting, first Zoom meeting, whatever the case may be?

Jacqueline Child: Well, I guess let’s start with the messaging and once you match with someone, I think I always like to start with some sort of funny question. I don’t know, there’s some question going around like, “What’s your favorite form of potato?” [inaudible 00:21:24] “It’s baked potato.” Or whatever. And it’s just a funny icebreaker and no [inaudible 00:21:29]. There’s no wrong answer. And so I think that it’s always a good tip, is just start out with comedy and just make it fun. Because dating at the end of the day should be fun. Do you have any tips for messaging?

Alexa Child: Messaging? Well, I was thinking about what my favorite potato was.

Mindy Henderson: I was too, I’m not going to lie. If somebody came back with a boiled potato, I might be like, “I don’t know that we’re a pair.”

Alexa Child:  I know.

Jacqueline Child: Well, mine’s french fries for sure.

Alexa Child:  But I was just saying, then I was like, “Oh, potato’s so good.” No, yeah, I think starting it off casually too. I think a lot of people put a lot of pressure on the messaging, or if people don’t respond right away, they get frustrated. I think understanding that everyone is busy and some people want to really make their messages genuine and thoughtful and they won’t respond right away because they want to be able to dedicate time and energy to it. And so being patient is good, although there’s obviously, if you go days without a response, I think that might be saying something.

I also, really in general, say you should FaceTime or meet the person sooner rather than later and not let the messaging go on for too long. It’s really easy for someone to say one wrong thing or you misinterpret the tone and then get the ick and I think that you should meet with them, whether that’s via FaceTime or in person and just get a feel for them in real life. And so I try not to message that often. I also am not great at responding. So for me, [inaudible 00:23:18].

Jacqueline Child: Yeah, and the one silver lining of the pandemic was that there were so many cool virtual date ideas and-

Alexa Child:  And it became normal.

Jacqueline Child:  Yeah. It really became normal. And I really encourage our users to date virtually if they want, which is why we have our location function. It’s optional. So you can search within your radius or you can search throughout the app. And luckily with technology, long distance relationships work out really well.

Alexa Child:  We have successful long-distance relationships from the app that are no longer long distance, but they had dated a year and now are living together, and so it does work. But yeah, there’s really great ideas for Zoom dates. I always think it’s really fun too, if you picked a DoorDash or Uber, you pick whatever meal and you have it sent to your date. Activities, doing the Netflix party thing where you could watch the same movie. And there’s all these different card games that you can play that have questions and prompts. And I think there’s so many options that… Yeah, dating in [inaudible 00:24:42] should be fun.

Mindy Henderson: I’m like, can my husband and I join and date each other again, because some of this stuff sounds really fun. So let me ask you this. I remember back when I was still dating and I was on, I think there was one or two dating apps back in the day when I was still dating. But one of the things that I came across a lot was that the person I was maybe talking to would resist getting together and actually meeting. And I know that everybody’s got their comfort levels and some people are ready to meet after a couple of days. Some people are ready to meet after a few weeks. But I found that that was a pretty common theme of people that you would meet that never wanted to finally get together or anything. Is that a red flag for you and what does that say to you?

Alexa Child: I think it’s a red flag, and I am one of those people right now. I think it’s emotional unavailability, and I’m so busy with DateAbility, I’m taking a pause and not dating at all and just trying to focus on other aspects of my life because I realize that it’s not very fair to other people. Unfortunately, a lot of people lack awareness and so they don’t realize what they’re doing or they just really like the attention that they’re getting from these messages. And so they feed off of that, but they don’t actually want to meet you. And I do think that’s a red flag.

Jacqueline Child: Yeah. I always think, or at least, I’m not on a dating app to have a pen pal, and I see that a lot. I think a lot of people are interested in just texting. I think if that is your case, be really transparent about it so that the other person doesn’t have these expectations of you that you’re just not going to meet.

Mindy Henderson:  Yeah, that makes total sense. You mentioned having had some long-distance dating examples and things like that. Are there any particular fun or special dating success stories that you can share with us?

Jacqueline Child:  I think our first success story was a long-distance one, right? Because they match a month after DateAbility launch, so right before the holidays in 2022, and they live 900 miles apart. They both have chronic illness. They dated for a year and now they’re moving in together. Or after the holidays they moved in together. And so we really need to follow up with him and see how things are going. And then another success story we have is we have a user who has been on the app since day one, and he is so kind and has always been really supportive. And he ended up matching with someone who lived 30 minutes away from him actually. And they both are on the autism spectrum and they are now dating. Met each other’s families and they spent the holidays together and they’re both so excited and it’s been lovely to watch and he’ll send us pictures of them.

The other day he sent us a screenshot that they’re now in a Facebook relationship. So it’s official and it’s just really nice to see.

Mindy Henderson:  Oh, that’s so cool. I love that. That’s amazing. So I have to ask you, because those are some great sounding success stories. You hear about horror stories, have you heard any examples of dates gone wrong that we could chuckle about? No names of course, but…

Jacqueline Child: No, not-

Alexa Child:  No.

Mindy Henderson: Okay.

Alexa Child: Not like a date gone wrong. Sometimes we’ll get the feedback like, it’ll be a misunderstanding. This person’s not disabled, they’re not allowed on the app, and they don’t hesitate to tell the other person, and then they [inaudible 00:28:50] as well, and we have to clarify, “No, that’s actually not our policy.” But we haven’t heard of anything crazy. Do you have anything?

Jacqueline Child: No. The only thing that I’ll say is that when I go through the people who are reported or blocked, I will sometimes have a chuckle on them because it will say, “I specifically asked for a politically progressive person, and this person says they’re conservative and they have a Bible verse in their bio.” And so everyone’s allowed on the app.

Mindy Henderson: Yes. That’s so funny.

Jacqueline Child: People are very opinionated and particular in what they want, which more power to them.

Mindy Henderson: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. But like you said, everyone is allowed there, and that’s a fantastic thing. And you would think that if you didn’t get what you were hoping for, you would just move on to the next person. But I guess that’s maybe not what everybody does.

Alexa Child: No.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah. Well, first of all, is it an 18 and up app? Is that the age range?

Alexa Child:  Yeah.

Mindy Henderson: Okay.

Jacqueline Child: Eighteen and up and we are LGBTQ plus inclusive as well.

Mindy Henderson: Love it. Okay. And then so for anyone that’s listening that may go try out your app and is using a dating app for the first time, do you have any advice, any pro tips?

Jacqueline Child:  Yeah. Well, I think pictures do make a difference. And the best advice that I’ve seen is that make sure that you’re showing your face in at least a few photos. Try not to have sunglasses on. Good quality photos are also important. No blurry selfies and limit to one picture with friends. People are really just focused on the person’s profile.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah.

Jacqueline Child: I think something funny in your bio or making sure your expectations are clear and your bio is really helpful. And then also filling out as much information as available. So we have on our profiles, your education, your job, political affiliation, and those are all optional. You don’t have to have those visible on your profiles. But I do think that a more robust profile is more successful.

Mindy Henderson: Yeah. That makes sense to me because the more information you can share… Because the things that you just mentioned, that’s a checklist of information. And you can be talking about more important, more fun, interesting things. And if you can just get all of that stuff up there and out there, you can cover a lot of ground really easily, I think. I will also say, again, with the dogs, I was always a sucker for anyone that had a dog in their picture with them. That’s my pro tip. So this is an audience where accessibility can be an important thing. You mentioned the virtual dates, which I hadn’t even thought about, which just goes to show how long it’s been since I’ve dated, but I thought the virtual dates sounded like really great ideas.

And it sounds like there’s some great options and that would certainly add an element of accessibility if you don’t want to go out and risk picking a place or whatever just yet. But do you have any other tips for fun, creative, first date ideas that are also kind of sure to be accessible?

Jacqueline Child: Well, I think the best thing that you could do is ask someone what their accessibility needs are. And I think that is something that probably rarely happens on the mainstream dating apps, but I think there’s nothing more attractive than someone recognizing your needs and really showing that they care about it. We have such a diverse user base, so we have people who are neurodivergent or people who are wheelchair users and everyone’s needs are so different. But if you’re matching with someone who, let’s say, has a sensory processing disorder, asking them what they are comfortable with or let’s say what accommodations they need, is so helpful. And yeah, I mean you get a tick off on my list.

Alexa Child: I agree. I agree with that. I think communication is key and I think it lays a really good foundation for a quality relationship. Even if it doesn’t end up becoming romantic, everyone can always use more friends. And so I think it just really is setting up for a nice relationship, whether that’s platonic or romantic, because there are so many creative dates that you can do, but not everyone can do them. And so I think assuming that one can do them, gets people into trouble.

Mindy Henderson: Very true. That’s a really good point. And as I was asking the question even, I realized that, of course, accessibility is a relative term and that means different things to different people. So I think you’re absolutely right. It’s got to be something that you pay personal attention to and come up with something that’s good for everyone. So when you think about dating in general, is there any advice that you feel like specifically resonates with the disability community?

Jacqueline Child: Keeping an open mind is important. And I see this a lot amongst the chatter on the internet with people judging one way or the other of people who aren’t disabled, who people think it’s weird if a non-disabled person chooses to date a disabled person. Or people, on the flip side, a disabled person will say they absolutely don’t want to date another disabled person. And I think that it really closes you off to a lot of people. And it also, what we’ve learned is that nothing stays the way it is. So you might get into a relationship with a non-disabled person and then they became disabled or chronically ill. So it’s really just important to keep an open mind and see people for who they are. Yeah.

Alexa Child: And I think to not forget about the diversity of the community. I think most people when they think of something, they think of it in terms of themselves. And so if they think what it means to be disabled, they see what they see when they look in the mirror. And that’s not true. It is so diverse, even among diagnoses, it’s so diverse and can manifest so differently. And so we’ve seen things online, chat or online, “I would never want to date another disabled person because I’m in so much chronic pain that I couldn’t date someone who goes through what I go through every day.” But just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you experience chronic pain every day.

Mindy Henderson: True.

Alexa Child: And there’s psychiatric disabilities, it’s just very different. And so I think it’s so short-sighted to do that, and it’s like self-sabotage too because why would anyone date that person? If you feel that way about yourself, why would anyone want to date you too? And I know Jacqueline went through that at a certain point and she realized that she was essentially discriminating against herself and how ridiculous that is, and [inaudible 00:36:59] so vast and intersectional. I think that that’s what I’d really want everyone to remember.

Jacqueline Child: Yeah, I think internalized ableism is prevalent among our community and [inaudible 00:37:10] experience it. I don’t think that there’s a disabled person who hasn’t experienced it in one way or another. And so we really want to fight that and break the stigma among, not only people outside of the community, but also within the community.

Mindy Henderson: You guys are so wise. I feel like I want to get a cup of coffee once a week and just hang out because you guys have such a great outlook on the world. I’ve got to ask, Alexa, I think that you said that you had hit the pause button on dating for a minute. What about you, Jacqueline? Have you found success yet? Are you still looking for the one?

Jacqueline Child: Not yet, but I know that they’re out there. Also like Alexa, this has really consumed much of my time. And then managing chronic illness on top of it has been a lot. But I am ready for the place where DateAbility becomes stable enough where I can be more of a user than a company owner, and I can actually use it. I know that my person’s out there.

Mindy Henderson: Oh, for sure.

Jacqueline Child:  Just the change in my perspective and how I view myself is… I mean, I call it a success every day because I had such low self-esteem before this and I just could not see why anyone would want to date me. And now I’ve turned a corner and I have a lot to offer and so does everyone else on DateAbility.

Mindy Henderson: And I think that’s a really important piece of your story, maybe, because thinking about what you had been through and the experiences that you had, and it sounds like they were hard on you and took their toll. But again, I think I said it earlier, you really took your power back by creating this app and I love that. And I think it’s a testament to, we’re all really in charge of our own destinies and we have so much more power over who we are and what we think about ourselves and how the world sees us, than we may think we do at times. And so what you did for yourself I think is such an empowering thing. I hope that there are lots of other young girls listening to this story to know what the possibilities really are when you choose to see them. So as Valentine’s Day is approaching, do you have any just last pieces of dating advice for people out there who might still be looking for their special someone?

Alexa Child: Don’t give up hope. Don’t put too much pressure on Valentine’s Day. It’s a commercial holiday, really, it’s turned into, so don’t worry about it. I think a lot of people get down and they feel bad about themselves on that day. Call up a friend. There are so many people out there who feel the same way. Or order takeout and watch a good movie. It’s just one day out of the year. And I promise that the people posting on social media, love letters on there about a significant other, are not as happy as they seem.

Jacqueline Child:  Yes. Agree.

Mindy Henderson:  Yeah. It’s true.

Jacqueline Child: It is true.

Mindy Henderson:  It’s very, very true.

Alexa Child:  And then don’t give up hope. There are so many people out there and I think good things come to those who wait, and I think everything does take time. We are so used to instant gratification now, and I just think that people are in a rush and love is complex, but it’s so worth it. And so I just hope people hang on and have patience.

Mindy Henderson: That’s great advice. I can’t think of a better note to end things on. We’re going to put all of your information in the show notes so that people can find the app and maybe sign up for the app and start talking to some people, putting themselves out there. I will say, I think connection is such an important piece of life. Whatever the outcome is of doing something, like participating on a dating app, whatever the outcome is, I think just getting out there and talking to people, meeting people can do so much for your psyche and your self-esteem. So I hope that people will get out there and make some connections. Thank you so much for being here today. I appreciate it.

Jacqueline Child: Thank you.

Alexa Child: Thank you.

Jacqueline Child:  And see everyone on DateAbility.

Mindy Henderson: There you go.

Thank you for listening. For more information about the guests you heard from today, go check them out at To learn more about the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the services we provide, how you can get involved, and to subscribe to Quest Magazine or to Quest Newsletter, please go to If you enjoyed this episode, we’d be grateful if you’d leave a review, go ahead and hit that subscribe button so we can keep bringing you great content and maybe share it with a friend or two. Thanks everyone. Until next time, go be the light we all need in this world.

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