Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dear Reade

Dear Reade,

Thank you for your heartfelt letter. Speaking for this one blog hooligan, it made my day!

I smiled when you wrote of your Mom learning to use the computer to read the blogs. Just a few short years ago, my son set up an E-mail account for me. I promptly humiliated him the following day, informing his friends that I now had a "website."

"Mom, you do not have a website ... you have an E-mail address."

Oh. Whatever.

Please tell Mom ...Joan understands.

I never dreamed I'd become a "blogger." But, seeing you all basking in the glow of that word "INNOCENT" makes me glad to be a happy hooligan.

Reade, throughout the year, I thought of one personal story I would like to share with you, if the time were ever right. And, now, I think this is the time. When my husband and I were young, our best friends were a young doctor and his wife. They had tried for many years to have a baby and in the spring of his second year of his surgical residency, they had a little girl. My husband and I were her godparents. We were all young, and life was good.

That Christmas, our friend was diagnosed, very unexpectedly, with late stage cancer. It was shocking and devastating news. I can see him now with his little baby in his arms, saying, "I'll never see her grow up."

A long year of treatments ensued. Some friends drifted away. Many hard and frightening hours were endured.

Today, that little baby is a young wife. Her father, a successful surgeon. The cancer has never returned.

But here's the part I want to share with you, Reade. Our friend often makes this comment, "That was the worst year of my life, and the best year of my medical training." That year, he explains, was a gift of incomparable empathy, that our surgeon-friend brings into every hospital room, where he must deliver unfortunate news. It's a gift of hope to every fearful, worried family coming from the best possible source, their doctor. It's a gift of personal intimacy of the emotional journey of life, serious illness, and death from one whose been... almost...to the end. I would not presume to know what our friend, or you, or Collin or Dave have endured, but I would, in some way, hope our friend's words might have meaning for you.

I have heard you say you may become a lawyer. May this awful year, with time and healing, someday be seen as the best year of your preparation to be an outstanding member of the Bar! A year of training, like our friend, no one would ever wish for, nor want their loved one to endure...but, transformed into an incomparable gift in the end, by your own excellence, intelligence, and integrity.

Someday, I expect to read the news that attorney Reade Seligmann is being honored. Or Senator Seligmann or even President Seligmann has been elected. I'll smile to myself thinking, once upon a time, I was part of a small group pushing lawn mowers in acres of lies...trying....all of us, to speak on our little blogs on behalf of you and Collin and Dave. I'll probably call some of the other LieStoppers and reminisce. We'll rejoice that you have transformed this travesty into triumph, and you, Reade Seligmann, are a Big Tractor now,... speaking strongly and forcefully from the vantage point of your many unique gifts, to the betterment and benefit of us all!

Happiness always,

Joan and the LieStoppers team


purps said...

Thank you, Joan.

Anonymous said...


Again you've moved me to tears.

You are able to capture a moment and winnow it down to its poetic elements in a way that just astounds me.

Thank you for your strength and courage throughout this injustice fiasco.


Stephen said...

Joan: One other "bright spot" in this past year is that we have all gotten to know you. God Bless --

duke09parent said...


As this nightmare begins to fade (despite the whack-a-mole eruptions of hoax true believers) I realize that I will miss your wonderful writing on this case. I have especially appreciated the personal essays.

Thank you for it all.

Anonymous said...


You constantly leave me in awe of the power of your writing. Thank you for sharing part of yourself in your posts. Todays was especially moving.

I hope that you continue blogging. You have a strong voice that I admire and respect. You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

Joan, you amaze me yet again. You've said the best words to Reade that any of us could have said. He WILL be the best lawyer because of what happened to him. You already ARE the best blogger because of what you worked to make happen to Reade - justice. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No fair, Joan! You made me cry!

Anonymous said...

Will you continue to use your power and influence to help others? You could help people unjustly facing imprisonment or the death penalty that do not have the luxury of good attorneys.

Anonymous said...


Just another admirer telling you that you're a great writer.

Space Puppy

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing, I have a similar yet more recent story. I had a kidney stone on 03/13/06 and they discovered a growth on my kidney. Well on 04/04/06 I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer and underwent a partial radical nephrocomphy on 05/03/06 to remove the cancer. With all the dates that coincide with the Duke case plus having multiple family members who attended Duke I have followed this case from the beginning to the now. I can relate to your friend holding his child, my boy was two months shy of his second birthday and I too was holding him wondering if I was going to get to watch him grow.

Well here we are one year later almost to the day of my surgery, tomorrow is one year, my wife is 4 months pregnant with our 2nd child my son is almost three, I have had two follow test and everything has been good. So thank you for sharing your story as all of your stories do, it touched home to all of us in one way or another. Keep up the great work.

Thank you...

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Powerful stuff, Joan. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Joan. Thank you for saying so well what many of us hope so much for Reade Seligmann and his co-defendants--that despite the horrors of the past year, they will be able to use these grotesque, excruciating experiences for the greater good of humanity. And I hope all of those who bore close witness to their experiences find within a sharper ethical understanding, a greater drive to champion truth, a stronger commitment to confronting and determinedly fighting injustice, and a deeper confidence that such efforts ultimately will not be in vain.