Disability Activist Annie McDonald has died

I have only just learned, via Vass, that Australian Disability Activist Annie McDonald died late last month at age 49.

Annie has gone but her legacy and fighting spirit live on

Annie was the tiny girl with severe cerebral palsy, institutionalised since three, whose intellect was assumed to be as dysfunctional as her body until, with Rosemary’s help, she persuaded the Supreme Court she had the wit and maturity to decide her future.

It was a huge story. When Rosemary cradled 18-year-old Annie – then the size of a five-year-old and weighing just 16kilograms – and helped her fight violent spasms and guide her hand to spell out her wishes, who was really speaking? ‘‘It was like the Lindy Chamberlain case,’’ recalls one old friend. ‘‘Everyone had an opinion.’’ The notion of intelligent life trapped in such a body distressed, and for many, including some of Annie’s family, beggared belief.

The court released Annie from St Nicholas’ Hospital – ‘‘hell’’, she called it – and she went home with Rosemary and Chris. There the book ended, but not Annie’s story. What happened next spills through the colourful rooms of their house.

One thought on “Disability Activist Annie McDonald has died

  1. Dear Anna
    My son has disabilities and a medical condition and is non verbal. My website is about him and our battles to get a meaningful life for him. I am writing to say thank you for posting this information about Annie McDonald. I followed your link back to the newspaper article.
    I am from Queensland, Australia and I had not heard of her or her work.
    I am very interested to learn about what other advocates are doing, have done and want to do. I signed up to a Google Alert for this purpose and your post came up in my in box with a whole bunch of others this morning.
    Sincerely Anne O’Rourke

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