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Inside the Mind & the Heart

Posted on Friday, April 13th, 2007.

When asked what is what like to be Joe Cornelio, Joe Cornelio replied "It’s like being Winnie the Pooh." Joe, who suffers simultaneously from paranoid schizophrenia and ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, tries to remain positive and clearly has a sense of humor.

He visited us with his two friends, Pam Wagner and Karen Romaniello, who find inspiration and courage in Joe’s story. Pam and Joe became "the most important person" in each other’s lives when they met in a psychiatric ward in the 80’s. Joe came to StoryCorps because he wanted to other people to know what it was like to live with both a mental illness and a terminal disease. We applaud your courage, Joe.

2 Responses to “Inside the Mind & the Heart”

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  • I am Joe’s stepsister through our father. If he is at all interested in contacting me, I’d love to hear from him.

    Comment from Dawn Cornelio on January 14, 2009 at 11:27 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Just wanted to update StoryCorps on Joe’s condition: he developed pneumonia on July 4th and was in the ICU for 2 months, during which time he agreed to a tracheostomy and was placed on a ventilator. He now resides in a long-term-care hospital nearby and is learning to get around in a powered wheelchair. Life is difficult at best for Joe these days, but he remains staunchly resolute that life is worth living and that it is all a matter of attitude. He is an example to all of us, but most of all and despite the infirmities visited upon him, he remains the same Joe I’ve always known and of course, my best friend.

    Comment from Pamela Wagner on November 10, 2007 at 8:51 pm - Reply to this Comment

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