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If there’s one thing on Valentine’s Day you can be sure of, it’s a plethora of sappy content. Below, see how we stay true to the tradition.

1. How These Two Found Love in the Checkout Line

Dona (Clinical Director of the CCU at FirstHealth) and Eric Baker (graphic designer, FirstHealth) lived out your classic meetcute. In 1989, she was a cashier at Food Lion while he was in graphic design school. And because this was when graphic designers still used sharpies, he would drop into Food Lion to buy them — again, and again, and again. Even if it meant waiting behind an extreme couponer with something to prove.

Their first date was on St. Patrick’s Day. They bonded over green Pina coladas, and the rest is history. Eric and Donna were married in 1991 and when Eric applied for a job at FirstHealth, Donna, now a nurse, came along as a package deal. Sure, working together is convenient, but the real reason is because Eric can’t go a day without his bestie. Don’t hate. (This story sponsored by FirstHealth).

2. A Story of Lifelong Soulmates

“At 8 years old, Michael and I (Abby) met on the playground. We quickly became friends and shared quite a bit of affection that grew over pick up basketball games, bike riding and passing notes in class.

“He moved away when we were 10 and our friendship continued for the next 13 years with letters, visits and sharing in each other’s ups and downs. He was always my rock. We began careers in different places and thought it was time to move forward with our relationship, but timing and distance just didn’t make it happen. We didn’t rekindle our spark until after life threw us both a couple of wrong turns.

“Quickly, we realized there was no one else that made us as happy or feel as complete as one another. Michael likes to tell me that he knew since he was 8 years old that I was the one for him — it just took me 20 years later to realize the same thing! And now we have a life that is built on so much history, trust, love and laughter. We have 3 little boys (Gabriel, 7; Mackenzie, 5; and Colton, 2), and we love to tease them when they tell us about little crushes they have because they might have already met their soulmate, too!”

3. A Look at How Love Grows on You.

Abby Kennedy (registered dietitian) and Vic Barberousse (electrophysiology RN) met in the cafeteria in 2016. Abby totally didn’t judge his food choices, and the two became friends and stayed that way as their respective relationships ended. As time went on, they finally realized their opposite personalities just might be compatible.

Though they work at the same place, they still have to plan to see each other — usually, over coffee at the Bistro. But she loves when she’s walking down the hall and seems him walking towards her from the other direction, and still gets butterflies each time. (This story sponsored by FirstHealth).

4. How a Chipped Tooth Led to True Bliss…

“Twice a year, our group of friends from college would reunite for a weekend of fun in Iowa,” Stephanie writes. “We went to a bar in Davenport one Friday night in October 2010. A friend of a friend had told her brother and his friends to meet us out. I didn’t know this girl well and didn’t even know she had a brother. Her brother (Sam) met us out and I knew this guy was interesting right away — he was tall, cute and had a BEAUTIFUL smile. I asked him right away what his story was and he seemed caught off-guard by my boldness.  He had just gotten back from Afghanistan, he was a Marine, and a Bears fan and was single.  I may or may not have flirted with him the whole night. 

“At the end of the night, the bartender announced last call, so Sam went to take a swig of his beer and I tried to grab it from him so I could take his last drink instead. My hand hit the bottle instead of grabbing it, and the bottle went up and hit his tooth. He spit the piece of tooth out in his hand and he immediately saw red. I am pretty sure I saw steam coming from his ears, but he tried to be polite.  I apologized frantically and told him I would pay for his dental bill. He told me to go to dinner with him instead, but I laughed it off. 

“His sister messaged me on Facebook a few weeks later. I guess Sam was asking for my number. We texted each other a few times over the next year (we lived in separate states). I found out he had his tooth filed down and had the chip fixed. I had preseason Bears tickets against the Browns, and still feeling terrible about the tooth incident, I mailed him preseason tickets and he went with his friends. He still gives me crap that I sent him preseason tickets to a crappy Bears/Browns game. Fast forward another year, and in 2012, I asked him if he wanted to go to a Bears game with me.  So our first date was a Bears/Panthers game in October 2012.  We dated long distance for a year and a half and we were married in 2015.  And the rest is history.  To this day, he has my name saved in his phone as Stephanie Dental.”     

5. And, A Match Made in a Morgue

Sushma Patel, M.D. (radiation oncologist) and Dan DiFrischia, M.D. (hospitalist) met on the first day of med school over a dead body. There were four students assigned to this particular cadaver, but the two of them became more than that. The couple are still chasing thrills, 20 years later. 

At the end of med school, they couples-matched for their residency in Cincinnati, followed by a small wedding in ’96 (and an official wedding in Hawaii in ’97). They moved to the Sandhills in 2003, so Dan could become one of the first four hospitalists at FirstHealth. Now, he’s among more than 30. 

Working in close quarters means the couple is able to bond over similar frustrations and understand each other’s needs, even when juggling schedules becomes hard. What really makes them work is their mutual respect — if she’s mentioning it, he says, it’s important. (This story sponsored by FirstHealth). 

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