Norwood Thomas, 93, holds a picture of Joyce Morris from 71 years ago. (Credit: Bill Tiernan/Virginian-Pilot)

When 33-year-old Barbara Lee McDonald read the story of the 93-year-old veteran rekindling his romance with his wartime girlfriend, she felt renewed hope for her own romantic prospects.

The Navy veteran now working as a cook and bartender at a restaurant in Virginia Beach, is single, dating and trying hard not to be cynical about it all.

Then she read the made-for-Hollywood love story of Norwood Thomas and Joyce Morris, the U.S. soldier and the British girl who fell for each other during World War II, but lost touch after it ended. Oceans apart, they both moved on, but they always wondered about the other.

[This 93-year-old World War II veteran reconnects with wartime love after 71 years apart]

“I don’t think a boy has ever thought of me past a couple of months let alone 70 years,” McDonald said, laughing Thursday night. “It makes you believe in love.”

And, like any hopeless romantic, she thought: Thomas and Morris have to see each other again.

So McDonald set up a GoFundMe page to raise $25,000 to send Thomas and his son, Steven, to Australia where Morris now lives. She priced hotels and the cost of two round-trip business class seats.

And she called Thomas, who told her how much he wanted to go see Morris again. Thomas’s son told McDonald his dad might be uncomfortable taking a handout. She told him it wasn’t a hand out, it was a gift.

So far they’ve raised a little more than $1,000.

“People don’t reunite with their first loves after years apart and smile or blush like they are in their 20’s…. Or do they?” McDonald wrote on the fundraising page. “This story cannot end here.”

While it’s not romantic love, McDonald may have found some love in all of this as well. The Thomas men have invited her over for dinner. They told her she’s now part of their family.

“It’s a renewing of faith and hope,” she said. “Maybe it’s not going to be so bad.”

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