Don’t let your handicaps stop you

Our family began 2006 with a fun intergenerational party. In fact, we had so much fun that the time flew by.
All of a sudden, it was midnight and 13-year-old Adam suggested we watch the ball drop in Times Square.
Unfortunately, I had tidied my living room so well that we couldn’t find the remote control. Adam had a wonderful idea and I was very sad later that we didn’t watch because Dick Clark had come back from his stroke to face the world again.
Clark, who had a devastating stroke a year ago, had counted down the seconds until the ball dropped. And I missed it.
According to news reports, Clark began by saying, “Last year I had a stroke . . . I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It’s been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I’m getting there.”
My friends at the pool said they could understand everything he said. No one knew the hours of speech therapy and exercise it took for him to come back.
And also, the many hours of hard work that still lay ahead of him.
No matter, Clark was jubilant for one night at the beginning of 2006! He said, “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.” And after the show, he and five or six of his friends went out for hamburgers to celebrate.
Diane Mulligan-Fairfield, of the U.S. National Stroke Association, called Clark a “hero” for appearing on television after his stroke. And stroke survivors everywhere found it very encouraging.
Among those survivors was Dr. Warren Braun, who said “Dick Clark is an inspiration to all stroke victims.”
Braun had a massive stroke nine years ago. He says, “As part of my therapy to learn to speak, I had to use a computer program. So I had to learn how to use the computer for the first time. After learning that, I wrote my first book on the computer—within about six months from my stroke.
“I can’t use my right hand so when I write my books, I type using one finger on my left hand.”
With that one finger, Braun has since written 24 books—and his 25th will be published soon.
Braun’s first book after his stroke was simply titled “Stroke.” Since then, he has written on every imaginable topic—from golf (which he no longer can play) to a book entitled, “On the Way to Successful Employee Stock Ownership.”
As a successful entrepreneur and inventor over the past few decades, Braun developed a company that provided technological support and engineering expertise for the emerging cable television industry.
Later, he turned ownership of his company over to the workers by establishing an early Employees Stock Ownership.
“I believe in people,” he says. “I’ve always believed in people. People are more important than money.”
Braun still writes with optimism and humour, despite having had a stroke and being the caretaker of his wife, who has Alzheimer’s.
As we get older, many of us can expect some handicaps—knee or hip replacements, restrictions because of heart problems, Parkinson’s, loss of hearing, and broken bones.
But next time you feel sorry for yourself, remember what Warren Braun did with one finger—and don’t let your handicaps stop you.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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