Tag Archives: stroke
Bob Rosenthal helps Ericha Doubles use her right hand to shape clay. The hand was partially disabled after Ericha suffered a stroke. Photo by Eric Shea.

Chautauqua’s unexpected gifts

Ericha Doubles walks slowly into the room. She is tall and graceful. Her flaxen hair is swept back from a smooth, unfurrowed forehead. Her smile is dazzling, filling the room with light. An understated athleticism shows in her posture. Her sense of humor sparkles in her blue eyes. There is a hint of the ineffable charm of Grace Kelly.

Ericha is right-handed, so she offers that hand to a visitor. Her gesture is halting, and the eye is drawn to her hand, clenched in a stiff, half-open posture. Ericha says hello, the word somehow coming out sideways.

Ericha is 41 years old. Diagnosed as mentally challenged at the age of 3, she has nonetheless participated, undeterred, in athletics for most of her life. She has swum in the Special Olympics competing in three strokes, run track, played tennis and ridden bikes.

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