Friday, May 8, 2009

Article about me in the company newspaper


The company I work for very kindly had an article written about me in the company paper, "New Horizons". My boss and HIS boss and I were all interviewed on the phone by a young lady named Amy who was not only a very good writer and very efficient, but also very nice, too (good job, Amy!). Anyway, here's the article:


Marian Bumala, circuit design engineer, embraces challenge. Working for the past 25 years at the Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif., she shoulders a lot of responsibility in developing complex instruments to further our nations’ space exploration. So it is no surprise when she was diagnosed six years ago with young-onset Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disease of the brain that can impair motor skills, that she faced the challenge squarely on all fronts. But Bumala’s story isn’t just about her disease. It’s about teamwork between a hard-working employee and colleagues who value her input.

Continually amazed by her teammates’ support, Bumala praises Space System Company for its commitment to helping employees living with diseases such as Parkinson’s. “I am so thankful for my job and for my co-workers outpouring support as I learn to deal with the emotional and physical effects of living with this disease. I have been able to remain an active and contributing member of the team in spite of my illness. There’s no doubt in my mind that staying active on my work team has contributed to my success in dealing with the disease thus far,” says Bumala.
Her manager, Stephen Fuselier, says he was saddened when he heard of Bumala’s diagnosis, and is committed to ensuring she remains a contributing member of the team. “We will continue to do everything we can to accommodate Marian’s needs,” says Fuselier. “She is a valuable asset to this organization and makes great contributions to our team and our customers.”

Bumala also has the support of many peers. Her colleagues are tuned into Bumala’s diminished capacity for multi-tasking and sitting for long periods of time in meetings. “My colleagues’ support enhances my morale,” says Bumala. “I am encouraged and motivated to keep working as long as the disease allows.”
Earl Aamodt, research engineer, has worked with Bumala for the past 23 years and has provided her with a lot of emotional support since her diagnosis. “When I found out Marian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease it hit close to home because my mother passed away from the disease,” says Aamodt. “Marian has become a close friend of mine over the years and she knows I am available anytime she needs me whether it be for emotional support or help on the job.”

Bumala has directed her self-described proactive personality to help fight the disease on the national stage. She is a passionate fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox foundation and is participating in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk this April in New York. “Being proactive and positive is the best medicine,” she says. “I have been able to raise over $6,000 for Parkinson’s disease research largely thanks to my generous co-workers. The company even donated a wheelchair for me to use during a 5K walk I participated in for Parkinson’s disease in San Francisco last year.


I'm so grateful for my job, my immediate superiors (who are also friends of mine) and my wonderful co-workers. What an amazing group of people!

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About Me

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.