Anne Ehlert's sister Marcia was born with cerebral palsy, but Mary
Anne really didn't see any difference between her sister and herself
for many years. Marcia was very cheerful and the sisters had a lot
of fun together. When Mary Anne did begin to understand the difference
it was with the knowledge that Marcia had already had a profound
influence on her life and the lives of those around her.
Mary Anne thinks of Marcia's life as being much like an oak leaf.
The leaf was a bud on a strong tree with roots deep into the earth,
but as the bud opened into a leaf it was not as strong or as fully
developed as some others were. It separated from the tree limb prematurely
but because it was small and light it was carried on the wind and
found its way into many adventures. Mary Anne thinks of Marcia as
the leaf, floating around and touching the lives of many people
and leaving an impression on them, finally resting in the sand and
leaving one final impression.
And Marcia definitely left a permanent impression on her sister's
life, one that inspired Mary Anne to take the road which led to
helping others like her sister. Thousands of families have been
"touched" by Marcia through Mary Anne and her commitment to helping
families of individuals with disabilities.