Introduction for Marian Botsford Fraser

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The highlight of the presentation ceremony is the introduction of the authors by distinguished individuals.

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Al Etmanski, author, advocate and social entrepreneur, President and co-founder of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network introduced Marian Botsford Fraser's book Requiem for my Brother.

There is a town in North Ontario
With dream, comfort, memory, to spare...

Those words from Neil Young song Helpless launch readers into an absorbing account of a family growing up in Northern Ontario and a brother and sister who loved each other unconsciously, tentatively and ultimately very deeply.

Requiem for My Brother is also a compelling account of the challenges faced by individuals with a disability since in the prime of his life Marion's brother Dave was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
In Requiem you will learn about the multitude of tiny calibrations individuals with disabilities must tend to - and the constant worry and anxiety of those who love and care for them.

The triumphs of will stubbornness, ruthlessness, meticulous organization, and constantly staying one step ahead, flow throughout this book as surely as the Coppermine River on Marion and Dave's epic canoe trip to the Artic sea.

But it would be a mistake to categorize this as a disability book in the same way as it is a mistake to only see the disability and not the person.

I grew up in Northern Ontario and was swept away with memories of snow shoeing, tobogganing, blueberry picking, small town first loves, playing in the bush, long car drives to Southern Ontario.

Marion you serve us the truth without blame and judgment. No sentimentality just authenticity.

No one will put this book down without gaining insight, knowledge, courage and an appreciation for the resilience and dignity of Dave, yourself and the rest of your family and by extension the resilience and adaptability of all individuals with disabilities and their families.

I thank you for that.

More deeply your book is a chronicle of Belonging within families, between siblings, among friends and amidst communities.

It is clear after reading Requiem for My Brother that: the biggest handicap faced by people with disabilities is their isolation and loneliness.

This is what ultimately unites all of us.

The yearning to belong, to be part of something bigger than oneself is universal.

And the strongest antidote, as you will learn from reading Marion's book, is friends and family - the ties that bind Neil Young's song continues: And in my mind I still need a place to go.

Marion, after reading, no absorbing your book, I can understand why when your brother needed a place to go, He came to you.

I'd like to think if your brother was living in BC today he would be better supported than he was in Toronto given we have a Premier, who you will soon meet, whose Third Great Goal is making British Columbia the best place in the world for people with disabilities and their families to live and contribute.

Please welcome the author of an authentic, inspiring and very moving memoir and salute to her brother Dave, Marion Botsford Fraser.
British Columbia Achievement Foundation
T. 604.261.9777 | Toll Free 866.882.6088 (in BC)

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