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My Friend, Anne February 3, 2008

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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Anne   In 2002, Anne Bulger, my friend from high school, began experiencing trouble walking and exhibited slurred speech. A few months later she was diagnosed with ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease wasted her muscles, robbed her of her ability to function regularly, and eventually killed her. But, more horribly, the disease did not affect her thinking processes. It left her bright and insightful mind trapped inside a body that weakened with each passing day.

Her doctor, a wonderful man name Neil Cashman, strongly suggested to her that she write a journal about her experiences and share them. Last week I read her book, Ambushed: My Journey Through the Nightmare of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and it lingers with me still.

It read like a long letter from the past, the sort of catching up two old acquaintances do when they reconnect on Facebook after a few decades apart. Lately I have been experiencing a lot of this electronic reconnecting with my high school memories.

I feel sad not to have known about Anne’s illness until months after she passed less than a year after her diagnosis, but I was charmed by her quirky writing style and so happy to read of her parents’ devotion to her needs right to the end. What parent wouldn’t be so caring?

If her parents, sister, or friends ever read this, please know that a part of Anne’s life resides always in my heart. How wonderful that she has left this book behind to help those who have been touched by ALS. Thank you, Anne.

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1. Patricia Harcourt-Da Silva - February 4, 2008

I remember Anne fondly from Grade 12 art class. We were at the point of our lives where we were about to part ways from high school and move on to university, college, work, start families and so on. I lost touch with Anne after high school but I remember her levelheaded and pleasant personality. It was so sad to hear of her passing; to be held prisoner by your own body is a punishment nobody deserves.
So I remember “my friend Anne” too, and whenever I read or hear about ALS I think of her. I think back to art class where she sat directly across from me, discussing our teen trials and tribulations while we sculptured with clay and listened to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”! Those days are gone but never forgotten.
Here’s to you, Anne.


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