jtdutton (jtdutton) wrote in classof2k9,


You asked how Albert was doing these days, so we are posting:

An Interview with Betty Borris, Albert’s wife


2k9: Tell us a little about Albert’s stroke and his road to recovery.


Betty: Albert had a very serious stroke that left him completely paralyzed and without speech. He has made a complete physical recovery, with only occasional fatigue in one arm. He’s back to doing the in-line skating he loves, as well as swimming and working out at the gym. His speech is coming back slowly. It’s a time thing. He could be fully recovered in two years. Right now, Albert is in Chicago at an intensive Speech Camp, to help jump-start that speech recovery process.


2k9: What has been the most difficult part of this for Albert? For you? Has it taught you anything?


Betty: Well, for Albert, it’s been the frustration of not being able to communicate. I mean, here’s a guy whose whole life is about communication – he’s a teen counselor and a writer. So he has all these thoughts in his head but can’t communicate them. At first the only word he could say was ‘when’. He’d use different intonations – when? When! When…Of course he didn’t really mean ‘when’ but that’s how the brain recovers.


The other hard part for him was losing his independence and having to rely on others for his basic needs (especially at the beginning). Someone asked him the other day what this experience has taught him and he said, “Slow down!” And that’s really true.


For me, the hardest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is asking others for help. Both Albert and I are fiercely independent individuals and having to ask others to help made me feel like a failure. But now I’ve learned, it’s karma – we’ve helped others (Betty is a doctor) and now it’s our turn to let others help us. I’m not a particularly religious person but I do believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. A friend of mine said, “yeah but don’t you wish He didn’t have so much faith in you?” (laughs)


2k9: You recently had a fundraiser for Albert. Can you tell us about that?


Betty: Sure. You know, so many people offered to help in any way they could. Albert has made a tremendous impact on the kids in our community and the parents know that. He tells the kids, “I’m not a counselor that helps you get into college, I’m the one that keeps you out of jail. I’m the one that keeps you or your friends from doing something stupid!” So, people were coming out of the woodwork to offer their help, most of them bringing food because that’s what we people do. My freezer was packed and I finally had to tell them to stop, which is terrible because they want to help. We decided to have a benefit to raise money to send Albert to Speech Camp in Chicago. Finally, here was a way for all those people to show Albert their support. The Friends of Albert Borris Fundraiser was held at a local recreation center with an arcade, in-line skating, a big indoor soccer field. Albert signed 100 copies of his book – we ran out and I had to order 40 more. Simon and Schuster donated a bunch of YA books, others sold handmade quilts. There were prizes and raffles. It was great.

2k9: That sounds awesome. One last question – how has Albert’s stroke affected his standing with his agent and his publisher?

Betty: Both Andrea and Anika have been extremely supportive. Neither are not pushing him in any way. All they want is for Albert to focus on getting better. That’s it. They both just want him to get better, however long it takes. And that’s wonderful.




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