Friday, August 20, 2010

Walking Papers: Francesco Clark

Few memoirs have moved me as emotionally as the book, Walking Papers, which was written by Francesco Clark. In the late 1980's, Francesco was a twenty four year old man enjoying a dazzling post college life in New York City. He was about to begin a lucrative job at a public relations firm after a successful stint at Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. One night in May, Francesco escaped the city for his summer rental in the Hamptons and decided to take a late night swim. This evening would prove to be pivotal and life altering as he accidently dove into the shallow end of the pool, hitting his chin and shattering his spine. Francesco was told that he would never walk again or function independently. The book graphically chronicles Francesco’s recovery process as a C4 quadriplegic and his coming to terms with the ramifications of his injury. Buoyed by the undying love and support of his close knit Italian American family, Francisco struggles to regain movement and is fearless in his determination to explore experimental surgeries and therapies. As a reader, I was astounded at the apathy and negativity of his doctors and therapists who told Francesco to simply accept his new life. This story moved me to tears and ignited a desire to assist people such as Francesco in my own small way. Readers learn that in the era of technology and stem cell research that a spinal injury does not necessarily lead to a life in purgatory. Ultimately, Francesco Clark has flourished in the years since his injury and is carrying the torch as an Ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. He is also a successful entrepreneur of a skin care line which proceeds benefit the above foundation. I hope you will read this amazing memoir because you will be changed as a human being by reading this exceptional story of one person’s mission to survive. You will be grateful for your own blessings and  Francesco’s memoir may inspire you to give to others. Finally, books such as this one are the reason I write on this blog; hoping to promote a love of reading and compassion for others through the written word.