Nazi author recalled strength in the face of ALS
Angela Parker-Brown didn’t want her legacy to come from just one Nova Scotian woman with ALS, and it’s not.
It’s resilience, dignity and compassion, say friends, family and even people they’ve never met.
The 50-year-old author from Truro, NS, died peacefully on Friday, her sister Bev Maxwell said. Her family was by her side.
“She was a soldier to the end,” Maxwell said. “She was strong…surrounded by love, just what she wanted. She didn’t want to be alone, and she was never alone. We’ve all been there.
“She was a fighter. She never gave up, even up to her very last time [breath].”
Parker-Brown used eye-gaze technology to write her first book, Writing with My Eyes: Staying alive while dyingafter being diagnosed with ALS in 2018. The terminal disease leads to loss of muscle control throughout the body.
In her book, she discussed how to take on challenges and encouraged others to live life to the fullest. She showed gratitude for every aspect of her life, from watching a movie to giggling with her twin daughters.
Maxwell said her family received messages, emails and notes from people saying how Parker-Brown touched their lives.
“Post after post, message after message, people I have no idea who they are,” said Maxwell, who tended to them.
“She showed us all how to live in this world with such grace and dignity and compassion for life and for each other, and she did that. She did this for everyone.”
After the publication of her book, Parker-Brown was presented with a Platinum Jubilee pin for showing strength and grace through her ALS diagnosis.
Pottersfield Press, her publisher, is launching her book for African Heritage Month this year.
Nova Scotia band Brigid featured Parker-Brown and her family in their music video someone like hera song about meeting adversity with strength.
“I feel like she was the poster child for this idea,” said singer Beth Terry. Terry taught Parker-Brown’s daughters music for years and knew them before they were diagnosed with ALS.
She said Parker-Brown never made ALS an obstacle. She said she found a way to communicate with the world, give her children an extraordinary experience with her, and make the most of the limited time she has in the world.
“It’s so inspiring,” said Terry. “I’m actually struggling for the right words to explain how… overwhelmingly brave this is.”
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians – from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community – click here Being Black in Canadaa CBC project that Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
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