Goshen News, Goshen, IN

May 30, 2013

Bill Walton inspires those who stutter

— While I was moved by accounts of the recent speech given by (former NBA star) Bill Walton at The Oaklawn Foundation for Mental Health annual fundraiser, in your article “Walton’s message of hope resonates,” (The Goshen News, May 18) I was absolutely shocked that the article did not mention all of the challenges Walton has faced in his life. In addition to the depression and many physical injuries, Walton also struggled with stuttering into his playing days in the NBA.

Bill Walton has been a spokesman for The Stuttering Foundation, a nonprofit organization that serves people who stutter and their families. By sharing his heartfelt experiences as a person who stutters, he has certainly inspired many people who stutter. By lending his name to The Stuttering Foundation, he has given a great deal of himself over the years. Walton is among the most prominent names on the Stuttering Foundation’s list of famous people who stutter on their website (www.stutteringhelp.org) which has other big names that let young people know that famous people have shared their speech problem. The website of this nonprofit organization provides many free resources that have helped countless people who stutter.

 Your article stated that Walton’s opening sentence in his speech was “I’m Bill Walton, and I’m the luckiest man in the world.” As a PWS (Person who stutters), I feel that the stuttering community has been extremely lucky over the years to have had Bill Walton as such a high-profile ally.

 — Juan Gardea

South Bend