'My Maggie': Book recounts a life full of love

January 6, 2008 7:22:32 AM PST
Love is an essential factor in helping children and adults cope with their disability. My Maggie is a powerful, complex and memorable story of a woman loved by her husband, friends and people she helped.

Maggie King was a remarkable woman who dealt with her hearing loss, blindness and three different cancers, which ended her life. Maggie lived a life fill with so much love.

Rich King, a Chicago sportscaster, wants everyone to know and love his Maggie.

"It started out as 'I'm gonna write a book about a women who overcame all these problems with her eyes,' cause the blindness was a big factor in her life, so were her ears, but then I started writing it and it became-- I started reliving our lives and it became a love story. Within three weeks I was writing all these little stories," King said.

At the age of 4 Maggie was diagnosed with a hearing loss. Then, as she got older, she started losing her vision. She was then diagnosed with Usher syndrome.

"I think, from her two senses, hearing by far gave her the most problems," said King.

Jim Kesteloot, president of Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired says Maggie was a great employee.

"If there was anybody at the Lighthouse that was losing sight I'd want them to be around Maggie King, because she was always positive, and people would see that she made it and she was kind of a role model," Kesteloot said.

Karen McCulloh is the executive director of Disability Works and Initiative of Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. She and Maggie shared the same career, disabilities and sense of humor.

"She could see a little bit farther away, I would see a little peripheral on this side, and then I could hear best on this side. So between the two of us, we said we had almost one good eye and we had almost one good hear, and only people with disabilities could say that. We could joke about it and we positioned ourselves to enhance what our sensory capabilities were," McCulloh said.

A large percentage of the profit from My Maggie is going to the Chicago Lighthouse.

"Lighthouse did so much for Maggie," King said. "I mean, Lighthouse gave her a job and was a big factor in Maggie's life. When she couldn't be a nurse anymore, she was miserable, she wanted to have a job, and they gave her a job as a counselor. She was a volunteer officer and she lit up after that."

Former co-worker and friend Don Davia says this is one of the greatest love stories.

"Because not only are you going to be dealing with a women with a disability, you're dealing with her mate who is going through the process with her, and there's a deep love underneath it that's going to keep them going and you see him growing as she grows," said Davia.

Maggie King died August of 2002. They were together for 32 years. My Maggie by Rich King is available in bookstores.