Woman with Lou Gehrig's disease authors short stories by blinking eyes

A Toronto woman battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, robbing her of movement and speech, has written a book using the blinking of her eye.

Zehra Madenli now trying to raise $10K for ALS Canada

Blink of an eye

8 years ago
In just a few short years, a Toronto woman has seen Lou Gehrig's disease rob her of the ability to both move and speak. 2:17

In just a few short years, a Toronto woman has seen Lou Gehrig's disease rob her of the ability to both move and speak.

But the degenerative disease has not affected her desire to write.

Using a computer, Zehra Madenli has written everything up to a short story, incredibly only by blinking.

"My mind is healthy," she said. "I see [and] hear but I cannot speak."

Madenli has been living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, since 2009.

Her next goal is to raise $10,000 for ALS Canada.

With no known cause or cure for the disease. ALS robs patients of movement, speech, and very quickly, life.

Wiping tears from his eyes, husband Sinan Madenli said within a year of his wife being diagnosed she wasn’t able to walk, and a year later she couldn’t talk anymore either.

"You just don’t want to believe it naturally because she was like anybody else at that time — a walking, talking person," he said. “So we try to kind of behave like everything is normal knowing that it’s not, right? And that kind of pulls you apart.”

Love of the outdoors

"She's always a very smiley kind of person," he said, noting that with his wife’s love of the outdoors "it’s kind of sad to see her locked in a house."

One of Zehra’s stories talks about a magnolia tree in the front garden of their house that has "beautiful pink flowers in the spring."

Joanna Oachis of ALS Canada calls Zehra "absolutely amazing" and "an example for the ALS community."

The foundation says they lose approximately five patients every week to the disease, with just as many people being diagnosed.

The money Zehra is raising could go towards research, equipment, and hopefully a cure for the chronic disease.

With files from Nil Köksal


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