A special event to celebrate the publication of a book about former St. Thomas Dean Bruce Kramer’s battle with ALS will be held Wednesday, March 25, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.
Minnesota Public Radio News host Kerri Miller will lead a 7 p.m. conversation between Kramer and MPR’s Cathy Wurzer, authors of We Know How This Ends: Living while Dying. They will discuss the making of the book, their work together and the life lessons found in living fully through loss.
Books will be available for purchase at the event, and a book-signing reception will follow in the OEC foyer. Doors to the auditorium will open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free with online registration.
Forthcoming in April from the University of Minnesota Press, We Know How This Ends details discoveries by Kramer and Wurzer as they embarked on a journalistic process to document his struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease.
For Kramer, the progressive illness diagnosed in December 2010 brought the loss of physical health and a leave of absence as dean of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling at St. Thomas, where he had taught or served as an administrator since 1996.
Wurzer, host of "Morning Edition" on MPR and "Almanac" on Twin Cities Public Television, began a series of more than 30 broadcast reports in 2011 on Kramer’s efforts to deal with ALS. She since has lost her father to a debilitating battle with dementia. For Kramer and Wurzer, the experiences were life changing and transformative, leading to their friendship and the book.
“Though we do know how this story will end, the surprising, revelatory journey that Bruce and Cathy take us on is full of insight, wisdom, sorrow, and joy,” wrote Dr. Jon Hallberg, a physician and MPR's health and medical analyst, in a testimonial. “This important, beautiful book should be required reading for all patients, caregivers, and clinicians to better understand that even while dying, there can be growth and peace and exuberant life.”
Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest and a 1983 St. Thomas alumnus, called We Know How This Ends “a moving tale that teaches us more about living well than any self-help book ever can. Security and immortality are both superstitions; the best we can do is make an adventure of our lives. In this exquisite book, Bruce finds adventure in the most unlikely of places: the death sentence that is ALS.”
Kramer has written Dis Ease Diary, a blog in which he shares news about his condition and his sentiments, since March 2011. He also spoke about his fight against ALS in a St. Thomas magazine story in fall 2012.
The book publication event is sponsored by MPR News, St. Thomas, the University of Minnesota Press, HealthPartners and the ALS Association of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.