Hungry Beast reporter wins Walkley for “Trapped in my own body” a story about stroke survivor Maree Bourke-Calliss

27 November 2011

In “Trapped in your own body”, Monique Schafter brings us the story of Maree Bourke-Calliss, who suffered a massive stroke 17 years ago at the age of 32 after being knocked in a netball game.

Bourke-Calliss became a quadriplegic with “locked-in syndrome”, meaning that while her brain is active, she cannot move or speak.

Schafter had to find a way to interview a woman for whom communication was painstakingly difficult. Schafter emailed her questions in advance to allow Bourke-Calliss to communicate her answers to her sister, Berni Hind, by blinking her thoughts using learnt sequences that correspond with numbers and letters. This process took more than a week.

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