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How do you hold onto hope in the midst of a pandemic? How do you hold onto hope when civil unrest, tyranny and violence dominate the headlines? In Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays from the 2020 Pandemic, polio and trauma survivor Mary McManus, MSW inspires and uplifts us with her wisdom and poetry chronicling her experiences during an unprecedented time in American History.

Mary McManus, MSW has known challenges throughout her life beginning at age 5 when she 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. At the age of 53 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 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 award winning 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.

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