Best-selling author Dominique Lapierre writes about Helen Lieberman, a speech pathologist who provided critical services in apartheid South Africa.
In Calcutta four years ago on a visit to one of the festering slums he calls a “hell on earth,” best-selling journalist-turned-altruist Dominique Lapierre was speaking with another writer, who knew of the Frenchman’s interest in heroic figures.
“Do you want to meet a South African Mother Teresa?” the writer asked.
Lapierre, who knew the renowned Saint of the Slums, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize, learned that day about Helen Lieberman.
The symptoms — fatigue, a “really bad cough” — struck Lauren Weisman 10 years ago, a few weeks after she gave birth. The diagnosis, after three misdiagnoses, was cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart disease.
Her condition worsened within months.
“Nothing” — not medicine, not rest — “was helping me,” said Weisman, of Holbrook, L.I., who was on maternity leave from her job as a speech therapist.