SHELF LIFE: Family's health issues lead to new book about hope, compassion

2012-08-19T00:00:00Z SHELF LIFE: Family's health issues lead to new book about hope, compassionBy Jane Ammeson Times Correspondent
August 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Saddened by the progression of Alzheimer's disease that led to placing her mother in a nursing home, Marilyn Warda, of Munster, expressed many of her thoughts and feelings through her writing.

"I would go visit her at night and she cried when I left," recalled Warda, a medical practice manager. "She wanted me to take her home and she couldn't understand why I couldn't."

There were other family issues as well. Warda's 8–year–old grandson has a mutation of the 14th chromosome which has caused significant delays in his development.

"He has just started talking," Warda said. "It's very rare, both my brother and son–in–law just went through complete genetic testing and they don't have it so it's just a fluke. But we've learned so much from my grandson, he really is a treasure."

And so every evening Warda would continue to write, drawing upon her family's adversities as well as her conversations with neurologists, all of which she wove into her recently published book, "The Randomness of Life."

Warda describes the novel as a compassionate portrayal of life's real heroes and their families. Her story begins in the Barranquitas, Venezuela, an impoverished fishing village that attracts neurologists and other scientists because of a genetic mutation that results in a debilitating and fatal disease. 18–year–old Tula Valdesa, with the aid of an American volunteer, leaves the village and moves to Chicago where she participates in a clinical trial in hopes of finding a cure.

"There really is a small fishing village in Venezuela where one out of 10 people have Huntington's Disease," Warda said, "and neurologists from all over the world go there to study."

Despite it's tragic subject, Warda sees her novel as one of hope.

"I hope the book is inspiring for everyone," said Warda who grew up in Whiting and has a degree in journalism. "It's about the hurdles we go through and how we all become more compassionate. I know that what we've gone through has made our family very strong. You say another day, another victory, you just have to do that and keep going." 

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