Andrew Shanley had a very active lifestyle, traveling the world as a cable splicer for AT&T, until a stroke led him to the hospital. He soon learned he had a rare degenerative disease - Inclusion Body Myositis. Rather than transitioning into early retirement, Andrew visited his local Department of Rehabilitation in 2011. With assistance from his counselor, he enrolled in college courses and is looking into opportunities in renewable energy.
I worked for AT&T for thirty years. I was a cable splicer. We were one of the first responders to Katrina to work down there. Went and did the earthquake assessment in Haiti, and then I did some cable splicing in Afghanistan, Iraq and Zimbabwe. I had a stroke I believe June 8 of 2012. And then I had, they think I had another one in August, and at that point I couldn't walk.
A friend of mine who was taking care of me, we were going to the store to get groceries, all of the sudden the truck started spinning around. You know, it was just going really crazy. We went back home. I had three steps I had to climb. I fell down. They called the ambulance, they took me to the hospital.
There’s nothing we can do about it. And you just need to apply things in the right direction, you know... just... you know be as optimistic as you possibly can. Like okay... maaaybe.... You know if there’s a lot of fire in me that burns and I’m not going down easy with this disease. I do plan eventually, when I get my degree, to go back to work. You know, I might be seventy. Just don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.