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Rosemarie Walrath

Rosemarie Walrath
One of MDA's mantras is: "Disability does not diminish ability or creativity." Time and time again, we hear stories about people who've been handed the "disabled card," only to see them toss it aside and achieve greatness. A good example is Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist whose world-renowned scientific career spans more than 40 years. His books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity. Hawking has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that has progressed over the years and left him almost completely paralyzed. And yet, his celebrated work continues.

Rosemarie Walrath is a strong woman who almost single handedly raised two sons, both of whom had Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a progressively debilitating disease that shortens life span. Daniel (1960-1989) and Brian (1961-1987) accomplished great things during their lifetimes because Rosemarie refused to permit herself or her sons to believe that they could not do something because of their disease. Rosemarie was a source of hope for her two sons; they lived their lives with the knowledge that DMD did not diminish their abilities or their creativity, it just made their accomplishments more difficult to achieve.

Rosemarie taught her sons that they could accomplish anything they wanted, limited only by their imaginations. She has written and self-published a book about raising sons with DMD, called My Two Sons. In it, she chronicles the trials and triumphs of Daniel and Brian, while at the same time detailing the progression of DMD. A limited number of books are still available, for the asking and the costs for shipping and handling.

Rosemarie has made a bequest to MDA through her last will and testament, and is a member of our Legacy of Help & Hope Society. When meeting with Rosemarie, one gets a sense of calm from the way she lives her life. She gains pleasure from simple things, like the beauty of the flowers produced by her collection of cacti or the artwork created by her sons.

Rosemarie knows the power of Hope. It is what enabled her to persevere while raising her boys with love and dignity.