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Letter Writing Campaign




Denny has always been a community activist and environmentalist. As a person who made his living by photographing nature, exploring nature and helping others discover nature, he is keenly protective of wild places and human propelled methods (bikes, hiking, kayaking, etc) of discovery.


One of his major goals in the past was to document bike paths and rate how pedestrian friendly a community was as we traveled through them. Then he would use the good ones as ammunition when we returned home and he resumed his activism with the city council or legislators. After we were hit from behind by an SUV while riding our bike one day, I suffered a pretty significant head injury. My helmet saved my life that day! Then a few months later a friend of ours was killed while cycling by a teenager driving a truck. Denny went into high gear fighting for cyclists rights. THEN he had the stroke and his fights took a back seat.


Not any longer! A few weeks ago a story ran in the local paper about a woman who is frustrated with our traffic and efforts by the city to control speed by installing round abouts at intersections. She set up a website to lobby for wider roads, faster speed limits, less lights and overall encourage the use of cars / suv's are the primary mode of transportation rather than light rail, buses or carpool lanes. After all, we live in Scottsdale where the car is GOD and nobody shares a ride here. Denny couldn't believe she was getting so much press. He was incensed at her efforts to increase traffic and speed it up rather than decrease traffic and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Then he read in the paper about a young girl who was killed while walking by a hit and run. The driver only received three years in jail. That did it, something clicked for Denny and he has been hard at work on his computer.


Denny has begun a letter writing campaign to the newspaper and to the city council. Mind you, with his aphasia, his letters are far from what they are used to receiving from him He has punctuated them with photos and set up a webpage showing images of traffic accidents, examples of good and bad bike paths side by side and short messages. I am so proud of him. He doesn't care that his letters aren't grammatically correct or even spelled right. He is fighting for his cause with a passion. Here is an example of one of his emails to the mayor:


"scottsdale bad bike


thanks 96th street"


Then he added the like to the webpage he has set up. Translated this means - "Scottsdale is bad for people riding bikes. Thank you for installing the bike lanes and round about on 96th Street."


He has done a similar thing with his anti-war campaign - complete with music.


Lesson to learn here? Many people (not the people on this list) wrongly assume because a person has speech aphasia they cannot process complex thoughts. This is simply not true. While they may process things differently or more slowly, it doesn't mean they process thoughts with any less passion than the rest of us. I am so proud of Denny and his passion to change the world.



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Ellen, good for Denny. He is a fine example of someone who is not allowing a stroke to stop them from using their passion to change the world. That is what we can all do We are not robots or ants, we are sensiate, hopefully intelligent, human beings. We can go on and do things to bring the world right way up again, just as we have fought to do so with our own lives since the stroke event hit ourselves or our loved ones.


Communities are shaped by the people who live in them, for better or for worse. So good for Denny, three cheers :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: for a man who can still address himself to the good of his community whole heartedly.



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Good on Denny. My husband also has aphasia & people assume he cannot communicate with them properly, it is good to hear inspirational stories about other people with aphasia & I get Baz to read them so he knows he is not alone!!

Keep up the good work Denny :Clap-Hands:


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Three cheers :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: to Denny for his compassion and ability to remain passionate about what matters to him. If more in our society would "slow" down and realize the world around them, maybe life would be better for all. Ellen, thank you for sharing this inspirational story.

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It's so wonderful to see Denny take on to his passion again, this will bring out something good for whole community, back him up, I read stories like these and Christopher Reeves, my heart fills up with pride, I no longer feel inadequate being disabled, if these is what is called disabled, then I would call all able bodied people disabled. quote by Robyn williams.





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Thanks for all your kind comments. I read them all to Denny and he was just beaming! I expect a few more letters will be going out now that he was been encouraged. He received a reply from the Mayor.

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Don and I are both excited about Denny's letter writing and activism kicking in again, too. We all need our passion projects in life to feel useful and alive and Denny's got one that is near and dear to our hearts as well.



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Great for Denny. Bellingham is pretty "bike" friendly so maybe he will get some photo's and it will be on one of his favorite friendly places.


GO Denny.

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Thanks Bonnie and Jean. Bonnie, we have biked in Bellingham and loved it there. I am not sure if we are going to have the bike this summer because I haven't figured out how to bring it along. Because it is a side by side tandem, it doesn't fit on regular bike rikes and it is too heavy and awkward for me to get up on a roof rack. We are looking into a different bike for Denny that would be easier for me to put on a rack.

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Denny--I applaud you. You are on the right side. You go! But not just the bikers need protection; what is that woman thinking of? The children need to be protected from traffic, too. Go w/ your passion and you will succeed. Take Care. LK
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