Tuesdays with Morrie: Augie and Denise

Tuesdays with Morrie: Augie and Denise

"When I was diagnosed, it was the worse day of my life," Augie says of his disease, ALS. He speaks slowly and with difficulty. "The most important thing is not whether I can breathe; it's whether I can communicate." 

 "Before, he could do more things physically. Now, his heart has taken over," Augie's wife, Lynne, says. Tuesdays with Morrie has helped shape Augie's perspective in that he can make the most out of every day."

"That is what I want to be, to be a teacher, like Morrie," Augie says.

"Augie's biggest accomplishment in his life is Augie's Quest, which is now the largest institute in the world doing purely ALS research," Lynne says.

Dr. Phil asks Mitch about how he feels when he sees how his book has impacted someone like Augie.

"You know, Morrie never saw a word of Tuesdays with Morrie," Mitch says. "I only wrote the book to pay his medical expenses. It wasn't supposed to be a big book. It wasn't supposed to get me on the Dr. Phil program. It was just a labor of love. And I remember before Morrie died, he said, ‘If I can reach one other person who's going through what I'm going through, this will all be worth it,' and not only has he reached one, Augie is one of many people whom he's touched."

Like Morrie, when Denise was diagnosed with ALS, she decided that her diagnosis was not going to be a death sentence.

"I worked constantly: 70, 80 hours a week," Denise remembers. "I did nothing with my life. After receiving my diagnosis of ALS, I started out with a pity party and just hit rock bottom. Reading the book Tuesdays with Morrie changed my life. I sat down with a
friend, and we wrote down some of my dreams. My number one dream was to go to Antarctica, Monet's garden in Paris, [and] clown camp. Live life every day. I thought it was for a reason, and it opened my eyes to life."

"[Denise] has a question I find inconceivable," Dr. Phil says. "She wants to ask me how to inspire people who don't have a terminal illness to live their lives to the fullest." Dr. Phil and Mitch join Denise in the audience. Dr. Phil asks her, "Do you really not get that who you are, and just the fact that you're sitting here today, and on that video, that you are a huge inspiration to everybody in this room and to the millions who watch this show?"

The audience breaks out into applause.
"It took a diagnosis to open my eyes," Denise says. "I want people to open their eyes without a diagnosis."

Mitch tells Denise, "You're an inspiration." He tells her that her story and message will live on even after she's gone. He shares an anectdote about a time when Morrie told him he wanted Mitch to visit his grave to continue their talks. "He said, ‘We'll have a conversation.' And I said, ‘But you won't be able to talk back.' And he said, ‘Well, I'll make you a deal: After I'm
dead, you'll talk, I'll listen.'"

Dr. Phil shows an ALS wrist band that reads "Never Give Up." Denise brought one for the entire audience.

To get your wrist band in support of ALS research, go to www.ALSA.org and make a donation.