Cerebral Palsy Series-Disabled Legend Ruth Sienkiewicz Mercer

Ruth Sienkiewicz Mercer was born in Northampton, Massachusetts. She was a healthy baby, but was afflicted with a severe bout of encephalitis at the age of five weeks. At thirteen months, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy resulting from the encephalitis. Her control over her entire body, except for her face and digestive system, was severely impaired; though not completely paralyzed, she could not care for herself or communicate through speech as most people know it. Due to her inability to communicate normally, she was diagnosed as an imbecile at the age of five.

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Cerebral Palsy Series-Disabled Legend Anne McDonald

Anne McDonald is an Australian author and an activist for the rights of people with communication disability. As a result of a birth injury she developed severe athetoid cerebral palsy. Anne was diagnosed as having severe intellectual disability and at the age of three was placed by her parents in St. Nicholas Hospital, Melbourne, a Health Commission (government) institution for people with severe disability, and lived there without education or therapy for eleven years. Anne wrote her story in Annie’s Coming Out, a book she co-authored with Rosemary Crossley in 1980 (the film Annie’s Coming Out based on the book won several Australian Film Institute awards and was released in the U.S. under the title Test of Love).

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Spina Bifida Series-Disabled Legend Judy Woodruff

Judy Woodruff was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Judy served as the chief White House correspondent for NBC from 1977 to 1982, and covered Washington for The Today Show from 1982 – 83. She is the parent of three children including a son born with severe spina bifida. Her husband is Al Hunt, formerly of CNN and The Wall Street Journal, now Executive Editor of the Bloomberg News Washington, D.C, bureau.

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Mood Disorders Series-Disabled Legend Brooke Shields

Brooke had everything fame could bring along with a pleasant marriage and child. The birth of her child had caused her to suffer from severe postpartum depression, it was suddenly at the point where seeing a window would give her the feeling that she had to jump out of her misery. She was suddenly feeling shame and emptiness from the bottom up and would sometimes not even answer to her crying baby. Fortunately her depression did eventually come to an end with her motherly instincts present as much as they should.

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