With a true gift for engaging readers, Elizabeth Grandbois is one of the mos tinteresting poets to emerge on the Canadian scene in years.
Grandbois is afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), a progressive fatal neuromuscular disease that causes muscles to lose stregnth , eventually resulting in paralysis and death.
The terminally ill author has infused much of her writing with a sense of immediacy borne of trying to cope with a fatal disrase for which there is no cure.
Indeed, Grandbois' poetry has an intensity owed to her own heightened sense of mortality.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Elizabeth Ann MacFarlane was a second-youngest of five children.
After spending her childhood in Hamilton, she studied nursing in Toronto and met and married Marc Grandbois shortly after graduating in 1973.
However, her nursing career ended when she was diagnosed with ALS in 1998.
Grandbois immediatly began fighting ALS, advocating and fund raising, organizing benefit concerts, public speaking tours and media interviews.
She's been the subject of a seemingly endless stream of newspaper and magazine articles, radio and television programs.
Grandbois has been a guest on such popular programs as The Vicki Banereau Show, Canada AM, CBC's Health Matters, Michael Coren Live, The Life Network and Discovery TV's Heath program.
Radio shows have included CBC Radio's First Person Singular, where she read aloud her own story of ALS before a receptive responsive national audience.
Grandbois is also the source of inspiration behind Elizabeth's Concert of Hope, the annual benefit concerts that raise funds for the ALS Society in the fight against Lou Gehrig Disease. Concert performers have included Murray McLauchlan, Ian Thomas, the Nylons and many other legendary acts.
She's also raised awareness of ALS through her public speaking toursand lecture on behalf of ALS Canada. Grandbois is also raising ALS through her captivating prose and poetry.
Not that all of her poems purely deal with her disease. Many poems carry messages of hope, insightful observations and deep insight into the art of living and the ability to love the of life.
Some of her critically acclaimed poetry was previously published by the Tower Poetry Society. Her poem The Lure of Sleep provided the theme for ther National Symposium of Sleep Disorders at the University of Toronto. And her poem In Dreams was the highlight of ALS Fundraising Walk 2001 Closing Ceremonies.
Cherish Each Day, her own story of life with ALS, was featured in Canadian Living Magazine, reaching a responsive national audience.
In an unprecendented move, Canadian Living recently responded to an outpouring of concern from it's readers by running an article assuring them that Elizabeth's ALS is is now progressing more slowly and she's focusing on her writing.
Grandbois currently resides in Burlington with her husband Marc, and their children: Renee, Philippe and Andre.
In Dreams is her first book of poetry.