Imagine a life in which THIS….
is the norm.
Imagine having only a week or two (sometimes days) between illnesses
Imagine that even the most incredible adventures could pose risk…
Well, these 2 precious children and thousands of others don’t have to imagine any of this….they live it every day due to a condition called Primary Immunodeficiency Disease.
What is Primary Immunodeficiency Disease you ask?????
Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PI) are a group of genetic diseases in which the immune system’s ability to fight off infection is greatly reduced or absent. These problems lead to an increased susceptibility to infection. There are more than 150 different types of PI. In the United States, there are approximately 250,000 people diagnosed with PI and thousands more go undetected, in fact, the NIH estimates 500,000 people may have PI and have not yet been diagnosed.
According to recent studies, it takes an average of 12 years from onset of symptoms to date of diagnosis. That’s 12 years in which treatment is delayed, illnesses aren’t carefully monitored or managed, and infections can take deeper root causing permanent damage to the organs in which they affect.
There are so many reasons that this statistic is unacceptable – but the most important reason it’s unacceptable is because there are people suffering unnecessarily due to lack of understanding, education, and awareness about this disease.
April was Primary Immunodeficiency Disease Awareness Month, unfortunately, life in April was quite busy for me and this post got lost in the shuffle….but, it’s better late than never. The way I look at it…every day should be a day that awareness should be raised for this cause – and all the other causes that need a voice.
Ralph and I have dedicated ourselves to raising awareness for this disease since 2007 – to be the voice for our children, others in our family, the people we know, the people we have met, and even for the people we have yet to meet. When we first learned of this disease, it was all about Will and Sasha – but then our horizon changed when we met some incredible people and suddenly, it wasn’t just about Will and Sasha anymore – it was about SO much more than us helping the kids – it was about changing lives, making a difference, and being a voice.
This journey, this life, this moment – is a complete blessing no matter how hard the road – we all have the power to be the voice of change, the voice of reason, the voice of comfort, the voice of hope.
I do it for THIS:
Because THIS is what life should be about:
Today, I challenge you ALL to take a moment and ‘Be A Voice‘ for those with Primary Immunodeficiency Disease (PI).
There are many ways you can do this:
- You can donate Plasma! Find out if there is a Plasma Donation center near you — these donations directly help those who suffer with PIDD.
- You can Donate Blood. Some areas do not have Plasma Donation Centers, but rest assured, some gammaglobulin products are made with the help of blood donors from the Red Cross
- You can become a Bone Marrow Donor — Bone marrow transplants are the only hope for children suffering the most serious and life-threatening PI’s.
- You can donate Umbilical Cord Blood — a great way to help stem cell research, the best hope for a true cure for PIDD.
- You can spread the word by sharing the Immune Deficiency Foundation’s website.
- You can run a fundraiser to benefit the Immune Deficiency Foundation (it’s really easier than you think and IDF will help you every step of the way!)
- You can help raise awareness by talking about it with your community or hosting a booth or table at a community event with literature about the disease (the IDF will give you all you need!).
- Talk about those you know who live with Primary Immunodeficency Disease (like Will and Sasha). You never know, you may help someone find an answer to a lifetime of unexplained illness.
- You can write your Congressman and Senator to protect access to IVIG, a life-saving therapy for many PIDD patients. Due to reduced Medicare reimbursement rates, some patients are unable to get their IVIG. Unless laws are changed, private insurers could follow Medicare’s lead. Visit the IDF Action Alert page to send your letters today!
- You can use Good Search when you surf the internet! This is an easy way to raise money for the IDF . . . simply choose the Immune Deficiency Foundation as your beneficiary, and every time you use their search engine, IDF will receive a small donation.
There is SO MUCH you CAN do…and EVERY gesture you make, EVERY action you take MATTERS more than you will ever know.
I will leave you with this poem I wrote back in 2007:
Be the Voice
I’ve been down this road
With the wind at my face
I’ve tried to be brave
And keep with the pace
Sometimes full speed
Is really reverse
And sometimes the blessing
Is also a curse
Sometimes our weakness
Becomes a great strength
Sometimes we struggle
To go a short length
Sometimes it’s scary
And you feel so alone
Sometimes you wish
That your heart had a home
In a world where normal
Is never the norm
You’ll find your peace
In the midst of this storm
You’ll find your courage
To hold your head high
You’ll find the strength
To look up to the sky
You’ll find the wisdom
To make the right choice
You’ll find the spirit
To be the voice
The ball is in your court…it’s your move!
Love and Light,