Couple with Down Syndrome Goes Viral on TikTok After Getting Engaged at Advocacy Event (Exclusive)

Lucia Romano and Matthew Schwab began dating in high school before getting engaged 10 years later

<p>Daniel Trujillo</p> Lucia Romano and Matthew Schwab

Daniel Trujillo

Lucia Romano and Matthew Schwab

While taking pictures at a Down syndrome advocacy event in Chicago, Matthew Schwab did something he'd been planning for several months: He got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend of 10 years.

A viral TikTok video captured the special moment on camera. In the clip, Schwab's girlfriend, Lucia Romano, looks him in the eyes as they pose for a photo together. Then, Schwab, 26, turns around and asks Romano, 27, if she'll marry him.

"You're beautiful, kind and friendly," the advocate, TEDx talker and public speaker says. These are huge accomplishments for anyone especially considering that he has Down syndrome. says. "You always make me laugh, you always make me a better self and I'm not just saying that. I want to continue this journey with you." He then asks, "Lucia Maria Romano, will you do me the great honor of marrying me?"

"It's a yes, babe! It's definitely a yes!" Romano says.

Related: 1-Year-Old Shows Off Beautiful Smile After Being Chosen for Down Syndrome Awareness Campaign (Exclusive)

Schwab tells PEOPLE that he and Romano attended the same daycare when they were babies. Their families became friends and have remained close ever since. The two started dating in high school. For their first date, they saw the movie, Frozen.

"Lucia is a happy and friendly woman. She always has my best interest at heart,” Schwab says. He adds that he knew she was "the one" when she went on a trip to Argentina in 2014, telling PEOPLE, "I missed her so much!”

Schwab reveals that he originally wanted to propose in front of family, but with everyone scattered around, it made things difficult.

Then, he remembered that GiGi’s Annual Leadership Conference — a training and meeting event for those involved with the organization's network of centers helping individuals and families affected by Down syndrome — in Chicago was coming up and he knew it would be the perfect opportunity.

"She was completely surprised," he says.

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<p>Daniel Trujillo</p> Lucia Romano and Matthew Schwab

Daniel Trujillo

Lucia Romano and Matthew Schwab

The TikTok, which was posted by GiGi's Playhouse on Nov. 9, has garnered over 975,000 views as of Nov. 14.

Schwab, who spoke during the conference, "stunned everyone with a surprise proposal" during the "group" and "couples photo shoot," the organization wrote in the caption.

"Tears of joy and loving embraces from family and friends marked the beginning of their shared journey," GiGi's Playhouse continued, adding: "We can't wait to witness their love story unfold."

<p>Daniel Trujillo</p> Lucia Romano and Matthew Schwab

Daniel Trujillo

Lucia Romano and Matthew Schwab

Related: Barbie Debuts First Doll with Down Syndrome to 'Counter Social Stigma Through Play'

Both Schwab and Romano love spending time together cooking, going to movies and playing the Nintendo video game, Wii Sports. They have also been taking ballroom dancing lessons together for three years.

Romano, who has her driver's license and often drives when they go on dates around town, is also bilingual and a multi-athlete with the Special Olympics. In addition to volunteering with GiGi’s Playhouse in Cary, North Carolina, they both work multiple jobs.

"Matthew is very kind and funny, I love his company, especially his hugs, we love being together,” Romano says. “I knew he was the one when Covid came and we were not able to see each other, I missed him a lot." 

While the two are excited for married life they tell PEOPLE that they plan to have a long engagement. They add that the wedding will include the family and friends that have supported them throughout their lives.

"Asking Lucia to marry me and having her say yes, is a dream come true," Schwab says. "Will probably take us longer to accomplish our dreams, but we will get there together."

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