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“That’s why I consider myself not just a survivor but a thriver,” Doolittle said. She knew of several pieces for one-handed pianists but she didn’t let herself be held back by that. Soon she was ad-libbing on pieces, adding her personal flourish. And then Doolittle had two children. “I was going to have children no matter what,” Doolittle said. It was challenging she admitted and certainly there were days when she said she would head out the door of house, stand on the steps and scream at the top of her lungs but she is very proud of her daughters today. Mom was just Mom and they never knew Mom to be any different than what she was. When the Doolittle girls went shopping or anywhere, she had them trained to stand by the back bumper of the car and wait for her until she got out of the car because they were always out of the car before she was. They always had to hold a hand even though neither one wanted to hold the ‘stroke’ hand. Running away from Mom was not an option. Periodically, Doolittle went back to accompanying the school choirs and even played for groups her daughters were singing with. Doolittle couldn’t keep the music silent. Even Doolittle’s daughters keep music alive in their adult lives because Mom taught both of them to play the piano and Mom is very proud today they both have pianos in their houses. Laura sings with the Lincoln Lutheran Choir and Lonna is a pianist. Throughout all the years, her husband Rod has been a silent supporter. Doolittle said she knows if he’s silent and doesn’t say much, everything is good. He was a great help with the girls as they grew up. Before the couple had their first child, Rod knew they were having a girl. He told Doolittle he had a dream. He was driving his white pickup and there was a little girl beside him on the seat. Before the next daughter was born, he had a similar dream. The only difference was there were two girls on the seat beside him. The couple shares a very strong faith in God. Today Doolittle knows having a stroke at such an early age is a genetic throwback to her father’s family. All 11 cousins on her father’s side have had heart attacks or brain aneurysms. Realizing she is very lucky to be alive, she works particularly hard to maintain and also improve her health – she wants to live to be 100. Recently she started using essential oils and has seen great improvement in her right hand. They also energize her, keeping her very active. Doolittle’s inspirational life and strong spirit has led her to speaking engagements where she plays the piano or organ and talks about her perseverance. A few months ago when she spoke at a Meckling church for a Fall Table event offering fellowship and music, she played one song using her right hand, ‘What Wondrous Love Is This.’ “I call my presentation, ‘Bloom Where You are Planted,’ and I believe I have been transplanted three times in my life,” Doolittle said. She has very few down days, but when she does, she gets up the next morning and goes out and does good things. “My personal goal is to be adequate on the piano with my right hand,” Doolittle said. “I may not play professionally with the right hand, but I am teaching myself all over again – it’s the little things.” Doolittle admits she is not a very patient student and she wants what she wants now but she realizes patience will help her perseverance to succeed. vBy Linda Wuebben Expert health care FOR ALL AGES Amanda Duxbury, MD, Heather Kleeman, DO, Mary Jo Olson, MD, and Anastasia Searcy, DO, Family Medicine; Chan Park, MD, General Surgery Make a personal, lifelong connection with the physicians at Sanford Vermillion. Our team specializes in preventive care, diagnosis and management of chronic conditions as well as general surgery. Call (605) 677-3700 to schedule an appointment. 018027-00342 6/17 HERVOICEvJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018v15

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