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NO. R-34. JOINT RESOLUTION CELEBRATING THE LIFE AND LITERARY ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF JAY ROUELLE.

(J.R.S.18)

Offered by: Senator Cummings of Washington County, Senator Doyle of Washington County and Senator Scott of Washington County.

Whereas, in 1995, this young and optimistic young man, who had recently purchased a home for his family and was looking forward to a bright future, began to experience neurological symptoms that were ultimately and tragically diagnosed as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and

Whereas, while ALS is a neuromuscular disease that progressively ravages and destroys the body, depriving its victims of nearly all ability to use any neurological function, it ironically leaves intact an individual’s cognitive and intellectual capacity, and

Whereas, Jay Rouelle, while enduring increasingly severe difficulty in his daily life, was determined to write of his experiences in a book, to be entitled "Terminally Sane", which would serve as a vividly realistic word portrait of the emotional, physical and psychological hardships that all ALS victims suffer as they journey toward an inevitably premature death, and

Whereas, he initially wrote his manuscript on a computer by holding a pencil in his mouth and hitting each key individually, and, after he was neurologically too weak to proceed in this manner, he was fitted with a special laser device that enabled him to direct a beam of light at the keys, and

Whereas, at first writing from his home, in 1998 Jay Rouelle’s family transferred him to a nursing home in Morrisville, where, having survived for five years with the disease, which is longer than 80 percent of all ALS victims, he completed the first version of "Terminally Sane," and, with the help of volunteers, was able to arrange for the self-publishing of 1,000 copies that quickly sold out, and

Whereas, the text of "Terminally Sane" will continue to be revised for the balance of his life, and

Whereas, Jay Rouelle’s great hope is that a professional publisher will agree to edit and publish the book for broad-based national distribution, and

Whereas, he has accomplished a feat that few individuals in his condition could even dream to attempt, and the resulting book will serve as a guide for other families that must cope with the tragedy of ALS, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly is pleased to honor the remarkable life and literary accomplishments and personal fight for survival of Jay Rouelle of Montpelier, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Jay Rouelle in Morrisville, to his wife and daughter Suzanne and Crystal Rouelle in Montpelier and to his parents James and Patricia Rouelle in Montpelier.