12-13-22 Into the Light: Emerging From the 2020 Pandemic with Mary McManus
As you begin reading “Into the Light: Emerging From the 2020 Pandemic” you will be drawn into Mary McManus’ unique perspective of experiencing a world pandemic as one who contracted paralytic polio in one of the last epidemics in the United States. Mary’s revelations about her struggles with whether or not to receive the vaccine despite sharing on the local news she planned to receive it after her husband received his, reveals Mary’s tender heart and ability to be vulnerable. She shares how the pandemic unearthed traumatic memories from her tumultuous childhood after polio and will leave you asking the question, “How has Mary been able to live life with an attitude of gratitude, hope, optimism and faith after all the challenges she endured.” Mary’s poetry and essays chronicling 18 months of emerging from the 2020 pandemic is woven with her valiant and inspiring story of healing her life after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome in December 2006. Mary’s beautiful journey provides a road map to discover the light in all of us.
Mary McManus, motivational speaker, critically acclaimed author and poet, 2009 Boston Marathon finisher, and polio and trauma survivor has a remarkable story of resilience, healing, hope and possibilities. She is celebrating 15 years of healing after the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease!
Mary contracted paralytic polio in one of the last polio epidemics in the United States. She endured years of abuse at the hands of family members from the age of 8 until 17 when her father ended his life. She managed to become High School Valedictorian and was elected to Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society when she received her MSW from Boston College.
At the age of 53 years old, her life came to a screeching halt. She was at the height of her award-winning career as a social worker at the Boston VA Outpatient Clinic having received awards from the Blinded Veterans Association, the Ex-POW’s, Employee of the Month and Social Worker of the Year. She was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease and was told to prepare to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She was three years shy of being eligible for retirement.
Mary refused to take the diagnosis sitting down. Her pen became her divining rod for healing harnessing the power of the mind/body connection through poetry. She embarked on a journey that took her from taking a leap of faith, leaving behind her career as a VA social worker, to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon, and many adventures as a woman transformed through the sport of running. Out of the rubble of her past, Mary dug deep to discover the treasure of who she was always meant to be. Her Spirit shines with brilliant resilience as she conquered every challenge going the distance on the roads and in her life. Mary speaks to the power of forgiveness, gratitude, love, hope and optimism when confronting life’s challenges.
Mary is the author of the critically acclaimed, “Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic”, “Into the Light: Emerging From the 2020 Pandemic,” “Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life,” and her Trilogy of Transformation that chronicles her health and wellness journey. Mary has shared her story on many podcasts and radio shows, including the award-winning Exceptional Women radio show. Mary was featured on Boston’s Channel 7 after her inspiring Boston Marathon run, is featured on the Heal Documentary website and in best-selling author Dr. David Hamilton’s book, “The Tenth Anniversary Edition of How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.” She has shared her journey on Bernie Siegel, MD’s Mind/Health Matters Show and most recently was a guest on the Los Angeles Tribune Show, “All Things Rex Worldwide.”
Mary holds a BS in Communications from Boston University, an MSW from Boston College and many fond memories of her veterans and their families who blessed her life when she worked at the VA.
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