Sunday, December 15, 2013

Remarkable People

Neil Selinger died July 9, 2011.  You probably have never heard of him.  His name was mentioned in a TED talk, I was curious enough to search and found an article about him "Loss of Speech Evokes the Voice of a Writer".  Apparently at age 54 he quit his job as a lawyer, did volunteer work, and signed up for a class at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College where he embraced his new voice as a writer.  Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with  Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as  Amhyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), is a devastating progressive neurodegenerative disease.  There is no cure.  Motor neurons die, muscular movement is lost.  People with ALS eventually are unable to walk, use their hands/arms, speak or even swallow food.  The disease does not affect the brain.  What I found amazing was how Mr. Selinger, in the face of such incredible challenges, was able to find a new path.  The frailty of his body did not crush his spirit, but instead somehow seemed to set it free. 

“As my muscles weakened, my writing became stronger.  As I slowly lost my speech, I gained my voice. As I diminished, I grew. As I lost so much, I finally started to find myself.”

I have a lot to learn.


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