At least not without love

Sevgi heibt ubersetzt love. And indeed: love has stayed with peter kunkel. But otherwise? The man from the photo album, the hands-on, tanned car mechanic, no longer exists. Now there is a wheelchair user who has too much time to dig and too little money for a carefree life. A man who sleeps at night in a bed built by his wife sevgi from wooden pallets and a mattress given to him as a gift. A 54-year-old multiple sclerosis patient, care level 3, who fears the future.

The windows of hub's brownstone house on erweinstrabe in wiesentheide are adorned with wreaths and small silver balls. From auben nobody suspects that behind the branches and the glass live two people who have been in despair several times already. How it could come to this? Sevgi, a trained tailor, and her husband, a native of gerolzhofen, don't understand it themselves. They had a good life, the turk and the frenchman, who have been a couple for 23 years.

The two got to know each other in sevgi's hometown. They got married, moved to germany and lived in a nice house in volkach for many years. "17 years ago i got eye problems – that's when it all started. After all kinds of tests, the doctors diagnosed her with MS," says peter kunkel. "At first, the illness didn't bother me that much. I worked anyway, in different jobs, for example in the security service of the US army in kitzingen."But the autoimmune disease is tuckish. MS has many faces and is not curable. "Last year I suddenly could no longer walk and needed a wheelchair."

That was not the only misfortune. A promised apartment, which sevgi had helped to renovate to make it wheelchair accessible, was not available after all – there was a need for his own accommodation. "What could go wrong, did go wrong."The kunkels decided to put their belongings in a barn in haidt and to visit their turkish relatives together. In the fall of 2015, the two traveled by car to sevgi's home country of anatolia.

They spent half a year there, then the visa expired. The return to germany was more difficult than expected. Initially, the two lived with friends, "but of course we didn't want to be a burden on them either. When no apartment suitable for wheelchairs could be found, the couple lived for a few weeks in a small garden house on the volkacher main, without heating, running water or electricity. In the fall of 2016, the job center took over the move to erweinstrabe in wiesentheide. In october the kunkels could move in here.

During the move, they met volker lang, the managing director of the service company SDA gmbh kitzingen, which moved the kunkels' furniture from haidt to wiesentheid. Lang saw right away that the apartment was not barrier-free. But the kunkels, who currently receive unemployment benefit II and care allowance in addition to their reduced-earning-capacity pension, are settling in as best they can in wiesentheid. However, even the entrance stairs were a challenge for peter kunkel. Even inside, he could not and still cannot move freely with his scooter.

The bedroom door is too narrow to pass through, so the 54-year-old sleeps in the living room, on a bed that sevgi built: out of pallets and a mattress, which the MS patient dives onto with the help of his wife. "My left leg is as good as dead by now," says peter kunkel. "I still have a bit of strength in my right hand."

So that her husband can at least roll from the living room into the kitchen and bathroom, sevgi has built small ramps for him over the doorsteps out of wood and carpet scraps. Instead of door panels, there are only curtains in the entire apartment – there is hardly any space for doors, and peter kunkel found it difficult to open them.

Peter kunkel is not a whiner, even if his psyche does give him a hard time now and then. Calm and friendly he sits in his wheelchair, strokes cat zeus and dog cookie alternately. When asked what moves him most, he says quietly, "that I put so much strain on my wife." Sevgi, who takes care of her husband and therefore cannot go to work, nods. She knows him and his dilemma very well. It is also hers. Her husband's heaving around caused her to herniate a slipped disc. "Sometimes we are both totally afraid of the future. How should it all continue?"

"I never thought it would be like this

Converting their rented apartment in wiesentheid to make it handicapped-accessible would have involved an enormous financial outlay. "You can't ask for that."The kunkels therefore hope to find a ground-level, wheelchair-accessible apartment "somewhere in the wiesentheid, volkach, gerolzhofen area". Sevgi kunkel says: "if my husband could get in and out independently, that would be worth a lot."And they would also like to have a handicapped-accessible car that peter kunkel can get into easily and that has a loading ramp for his e-mobile. "For this we would gladly give up our landrover."

Why do the kunkels have to fight for a suitable apartment and a car?? Isn't it a matter of course in germany to help the sick – especially when peter kunkel not only has MS, but now also heart problems and prostate cancer?? The 54-year-old waves goodbye. I never thought it would be so difficult for a disabled person in germany," he says." More he does not want to say.

About four weeks ago, he sent 120 letters to institutions and companies in the region to draw attention to his case. Exactly one person has responded to this: volker lang. "I think it's part of our job to see the suffering with us," says the executive director of the non-profit aplawia e.V. Kitzingen and its sister company, SDA gmbh. "Unfortunately i can't pay for a whole car. But instead of christmas presents for SDA customers, this year there is 500 euro for the kunkel family – as start-up capital for a car suitable for the disabled."

Lang has already paid the money into an account set up by the german multiple sclerosis society specifically for the purpose of purchasing a vehicle for the kunkel family.