News and Updates


Here's the BRAIN CAFE story, from March 2011

Nancy Worthen reached out to Everett Dance to share her daughter Margaret's story.  Below is an exerpt of some of the program from the Everett Dance Program called the Brain Cafe.

Margaret suffered a stroke ten days before her graduation from Smith College in 2006.

Nancy faced major decisions when asked, "What do you think Margaret would really want?" and was told by some doctors to "let her go, absolutely."

Quoted from during the first 18 months after Margaret's stroke, these passages were written by her mother, Nancy.

"I see many people looking at her with pity and with a certainty that the way she is now is the way she will remain.  I have this crazy idea that she is listening and trying to speak - I'm embarrassed to say these things because I know they are not rational.

When I hear from her nurse that Maggie is moving in time with the music I am sure that Maggie is having some sort of inner life.

Her eyelids have fluttered and her mouth is moving in such a way that makes the doctor feel there are messages going through her brain stem to her brain.

I wanted to tell you all what is in store for Maggie and me in New York City (at the Cornell/Columbia research study about persistent vegetative state in 2008).  She will have an MRI on Monday.  She will be hooked up to an EEG machine as well as be in a room where she will be videotaped.  On Tuesday she will have a PET SCAN done.  On Wednesday she will have an fMRI, which is the test when they will have her listen to my voice and also ask her to think about something physical that she likes to do and several other things.  Then they will see how her brain responds to these things and where, which will tell them if she hears and if she understands.

The doctor asked her to move her eye down if she could see me.  There were people all around the bed waiting for her to answer, and she moved her eye down, and I have to tell you that was the most amazing moment for everyone.  People had tears in their eyes because that was the moment that I knew after eighteen months that she was really there.  I had to tell everyone - my daughter saw me today!"

Go to and look for the Brain Cafe called: Locked in Syndrome March 2011 and view Nancy Smith Worthen and Everett Dance Theater's experiment with showing the experience of stroke and recovery.

Maggie was part of a Photo Voice exhibit that was presented by the Brain Injury Association of RI.

Here is Margaret's PHOTO VOICE Story, as told in 2010...

With the help of her speech therapist, Margaret tells us what she enjoys, like feeling the wind blowing through her hair, the warmth of the sun on her face, visiting with friends and family and meditating with friends in her home.  Her friends raised funds to purchase a handicapped accessible van and provide funds for her to do the things she loves to do, like the things pictured above, meditating, traveling to the water, visiting museums, and communicating with assistance.

Biography (for Photo Voices)

Born in 1984, Margaret Worthen lived for 22 years in Carolina, R.I. She enjoyed science experiments and writing, gymnastics and horseback riding, having bets and working at the South Kingstown Animal Shelter.  Her dream was to be fluent in Spanish, which she acheived by living for a year in Spain, and to become a veterinarian, which she was working on by taking all the required academic classes and gaining experience with animal care. After attending Smith College for four years, Margaret had a severe brain stem stroke a week before her graduation.  For the first 18 months after her stroke, she was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state.  After participating in a Cornell and Columbia University research project, her diagnosis changed and the doctors discovered a way for her to say yes or no. She is now able to communicate using eye movement and is able to comprehend written and spoken communication.  She resides at the Neuro Rehabilitation Center in Middleboro, Massachusetts.  Her mother, Nancy Smith Worthen, took photographs to help tell Margaret's story.



August 18     SHARE SPACE Gallery, Broadway, Providence. GALLERY NIGHT 5 to 9pm, selling Magarts cards, journals, prints and artwork, as well as THE SUNFLOWER STORY, by Nancy Smith Worthen






Contact: Nancy Smith Worthen
401 487-9713
Website Builder