From Martha Williamson, Executive Producer of Touched by An Angel

Dear Friends –

I received an e-mail from Ernie Wallengren’s mother this morning.  His fight with Lou Gehrig’s Disease ended last night.  And Ernie won.

Ernie won because he never gave up.  He won because with every loss his body experienced, he challenged his mind even more.  He faced a terminal illness by coaching his son’s basketball team, by taking his kids to the movies, by learning to communicate by tapping his head on a halo and talking and e-mailing on his computer, by giving speeches to organizations to encourage others to fight the good fight.

Ernie won because he managed to find the blessing in all of this; I remember him telling me sincerely one day that that he was at peace – because God had given him what most people never get: the knowledge that they will die soon and the chance to do something about that.  Many of us remember Ernie as the tall, funny twelve-year-old in the body of a forty-year-old who wore Dennis the Menace T-shirts.  But when I saw him last, sitting straight in his wheelchair, smiling, making jokes with his computer voice and his eyes twinkling, waiting for me to laugh – well, I saw a man who had taken control of his life even if disease had taken control of his body.

Ernie was a tremendously funny, talented, sensitive guy.  We worked together, we fought together, and once or twice we cried together.  I will miss him terribly, and I won’t ever forget him.  He set a lasting example of how to live by showing us how to die.  With grace and courage and humor and faith.  That is Ernie’s gift to us and if we remember that, then we all win.

With love,



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