Hitchhiking across Europe by herself at the age of 18, Anne went to sleep in the back of a car and woke up on the side of the road. It was cold and rainy. She started to stretch her six foot frame, but there was this searing pain across her back and chest. She tried to get up to see what was wrong, but she couldn’t move. She couldn’t feel her legs or her torso.
Back in the states, a phalanx of doctors in dour white faces told her, “Your spinal cord is broken. You are now paralyzed. You will never walk again. You will have no sensation below your chest and you will have no bowel or bladder control. Any question?” Later, her doctor told her, “Anne, you should seriously consider checking yourself into a nursing home. If you don’t, you will be a burden on your family for the rest of your life.”
Anne refuses her doctor’s suggestion and goes to college, gets a law degree and embarks on a career when it is perfectly legal for an employer to refuse to hire her because she uses a wheelchair. A time when there are no curb cuts, ramps or handicap bathrooms.
In her career she negotiates oil and gas leases with weathered Wyoming ranchers, investigates allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment by ordinary people across the US and at the largest public university in New Mexico, and implements cutting edge conflict resolution systems and leadership development programs at the World Bank. Along the way she seeks adventure and travels the world.
In 2008, Anne receives a medical diagnosis giving her one to two years to live. She stops working to live longer, explores all forms of medical therapy, both conventional and alternative, and throws herself into storytelling.
Today she is beating the odds writing and performing her autobiographical true tales and one woman show, No More Helen Keller Jokes, all over the United States. She performs in theaters, storytelling festivals, business auditoriums, trainings and national conferences. She teaches storytelling and provides coaching. Her memoir-in-progress expands her one-woman show, incorporating some of the thirty stories she has written since 2012.