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By Creaghan Trainor

Sometimes society’s brightest stars don’t even know they’re stars. That’s probably because they’re too busy living, working, and making a difference in the world. TSD’s Audrey Fisher is a perfect example of this. When, on August 9, her story of hope in the face of ALS made front page news in the Boston Herald, she was more than a little surprised.

“I expected the story to be a small article in the medical section hidden deep inside the newspaper,” she said. “When I realized I was on the front page, I was really nervous, maybe even freaked out!”


With her secret struggle out in plain view, she would now have to face her coworkers. They wouldn’t disappoint. “When I came to work, everyone was so loving and supportive,” Audrey said. “There were lots of tears, lots of hugs, and lots of laughs! It’s humbling to realize how loved and supported I feel by my coworkers.”

True to form, Audrey was quick to divert attention away from her own story, when asked about the Herald piece. “I was very pleased they gave ALS the attention that it needs,” she said. “There has been minimal money available for research for ALS, until last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge. All of my doctors are so pleased with the new awareness and funds available to help find a cure, and I’m very hopeful that they will.”

Besides emphasizing the fundraising aspect of her cover story, Audrey was quick to push the love and support of her family to the fore. “They were thrilled with the Herald story,” she said. “Personally, I would’ve preferred a family picture, but they chose to use just my picture.”

Her family’s support has been crucial to her maintaining a professional life as well. “My family has been so great,” she said. “They’ve helped me, in every possible way, to continue working at DOR. They understand how important it is for me to be able to continue working.”

And what does Audrey think about Mark and the roster of Deputy Commissioners and senior staff having stepped up to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? (For the record, the following went dousing for dollars along with Commissioner Nunnelly: Kevin Brown, Crosby Burns, Michele Cristello, Sean Cronin, Melissa Diorio, Breean Fortier, Bill Graham, Michael Guerin, Charlene Hannaford, Laurie McGrath, Steve Moffat, Kazim Ozyurt, Vincent Piccinni, Jim Reynolds [in absentia], Debra Rokosz and Michael Rybicki.)

“I was amazed that Mark and so many senior staffers took time out of their busy and hectic schedules to be supportive of me and the ALS cause,” she said. “It proves that no matter how challenging work is, there’s always time to show a little love.”

And this love and fundraising are inseparable to the cause. “To date, I’ve participated in 6 ALS research studies in hopes of finding a cure,” she said. “Some of them weren’t so bad, but some were excruciatingly painful.”


What gets her through these trials? “It’s so hopeful to hear that they’re making progress as a result of all the funds that came from the Ice Bucket Challenge,” she said.

Despite the difficulties, an overriding and palpable sense of hope permeates Audrey’s being. “I’ll be forever grateful for the generosity and support that stemmed from the challenge,” she said. “I’m very hopeful that there’ll be a cure in my lifetime as I’m determined to be an awesome grandmother someday.”

For now, Audrey insists that she still has a lot of work to do around here. “DOR is such a significant part of my identity because I’ve been here so long,” she said. “I don’t want to give up that part of myself as long as I’m able to function at my job, even if it means I might have to humble myself to accept some assistance from others.”

Her support here is resolute. “On behalf of the entire Department, and with our friend Audrey Fisher here, it’s my great pleasure to say thanks to everyone for contributing to fight this horrible disease and to let Audrey know we’re standing with her,” Mark said, right before wearing some cold water for the cause. “We hereby push on the challenge to the Georgia state Department of Revenue!”

With the winds of the phenomenally successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at her back, Audrey draws strength from the fact that her days are filled with people who love and support her in this very personal battle. “I believe in the power of prayer combined with the knowledge of science,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to keep up a positive attitude and the strength that I need to face my daily challenges without it. The media has been significant in bringing awareness to this very worthy cause and I’m very appreciative.”

WATCH: DOR’s Ice Bucket Challenge

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