Tuesdays with Morrie

Elizabeth DiRico

Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie, the play adaptation Based on the true story of Morrie Schwartz is the story of a Brandies university professor of sociology dying of ALS and his relationship with a former student. As Morrie walks the finale bridge between life and death he shares life lessons with his student and consequently reconnects him with what is truly important in life. In fact, Morrie Schwartz shares his life lessons along with his dying process with the world through a series of interviews conducted by Ted Koppel.

On a deeper neurological level, the play illustrates the complexities and devastation inflicted by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis more commonly known as ALS. ALS is characterized by the degradation of cells responsible for controlling voluntary movement, leading to paralysis and ultimately death. Thanks to recent campaigns such as the ALS ice bucket challenge, there is a high degree of public awareness surrounding this debilitating disease. Based on my comprehension of ALS on a cellular level I previously believed that I had a good understanding of the disease. However, witnessing Morrie’s battle first hand illustrated many facets that I had previously overlooked. Most notably, this was exemplified by Morries maintained mental capacity as his body deteriorated. This is one of the more gruesome aspects of the disease considering that ALS is a motor neuron disease it does not impair cognitive function. Instead it impends the mechanism responsible from sending signal from the brain to the muscles, inhibiting voluntary movement.

To date, mutations in 29 genes have been implicated in causing ALS, yet these mutations account for only one-third of total cases. A tremendous amount of research continues to be conducted to better understand ALS as well as prevent this devastating disease. Nearly twenty years after his death, Morrie’s story is still being told and he dose his part to spread awareness about ALS and continues to inspire his disciples to live a happy and meaningful life.

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