HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - After more than 20 years apart, one single click on Facebook reignited a love story between Consuleo Oster and Mike Ratliff.
"There was another message from Mike that said, 'So are you going to confirm me as your friend or not?' Oster remembered. "I guess he was remembering back 29 years when I canceled that date. And so he became my very first friend on Facebook and we started talking that way."
Registered Nurse Consuleo Oster is a University of Southern Mississippi graduate. That's where she and Hattiesburg attorney Mike Ratliff met for the very first time.
"The first time I saw Consuelo was back in the fall of 1976," Ratliff said. "And I remember seeing her walking across campus and I remember thinking to myself, 'Boy, there goes a Latin goddess.'"
It was because of the social media tool Facebook the two were able to re-unite after spending worlds apart.
"I would say that the conversations that we had on Facebook set the stage for our face to face conversation. I just felt very comfortable seeing her and it wasn't like we hadn't had any contact in 29 years. It really kind of broke the ice," said Ratliff.
"We went out to eat that night and pretty much have been seeing each other every night since then, and going out, and we're in love," Oster added. "And it probably would never have happened if it wasn't for Facebook."
And they aren't alone in believing in the power of social media. Kelli Bosarge has spent most of her life dreaming of a valuable communication tool that could leave her speechless.
"I have hope again, you know. And that's huge," Bosarge said. "I feel like hope is everything and having that again is, there's really no words for that."
Bosarge lives with Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy.
"And so the channels in my body are defective and do not transport electrolytes into my muscles as they should. So due to not having the electrolytes in my muscle cells properly, my muscles weaken and depolarize, and eventually I just can't move. I literally cannot move," said Bosarge.
Social media has had a major impact on her life since she first logged on. This tool has allowed her to connect with others who are suffering from this rare challenge.
"And for the first time in my life, I met someone who had my condition. Oh, they are from all over the world. I have friends now from the Philippines, Japan and then the north, Ohio, New York, California, Washington. I seem to be the only person in this particular region that has the condition."
Facebook has a wide variety of groups people can join and discuss specific topics, you can become friends with people all over the universe, see their pictures and instantly chat. While browsing groups one day Bosarge was shocked when she scrolled over a group that focused just on Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.
"Joining that group and connecting with people who knew exactly what I was going through, could relate to everything. We were able to share stories and information. And the impact has been tremendous for me. Because I have learned so much more about the condition itself, how it works in my body, things I can do to help myself to manage the condition that I didn't know before I joined Facebook, and neither did my doctor," said Bosarge.
Bosarge said the information that has been shared through this social media site has saved lives, including her own.
"This has been life changing. Get online and just connect with people and you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life," said Bosarge.
Ratliff and Oster certainly agree.
"Yes, I am very happy and very much in love," said Oster.