On September 19, the very first Usher Syndrome Awareness Day takes place. I mean, what are the odds, really - my genetic test recently confirmed the diagnosis (that is another post for another day because, well, it just is) and so when I need it most, suddenly there's a huge push to raise awareness of Usher Syndrome.
And along with that drive to raise awareness is the opportunity through social media to find so many other people who know exactly what I'm going through - because they or their children or someone they care about is experiencing all of these things. Strength in numbers isn't just a cliche, but a reality, really.
I cannot imagine how anyone dealt with any diagnosis of a great magnitude before the internet existed. Sure, there were probably support groups - but what about for something so rare? How did they find someone with that same rare thing when there wasn't wifi and mouse clicks and search engines to simplify the process?
I've been grateful to find people who know what I'm feeling. The UshFamily is growing, unfortunately - but it's also a blessing for people like me.
Today, was a hard day - not all days are hard, but today was. Today, I started thinking about what the progression of my vision loss might be. One doctor told me that I'd probably be blind in twenty years… and I keep coming back to that on the bad days: here I am slogging through life, busting my butt day in and day out to provide for my daughters and when I am about to hit sixty, when I am about to prepare for retiring, my so-called golden years… then I can be blind? Well. That sucks. It does.
I need that to not happen. I need that to not be my reality. I need there to be research and cures and solutions.
And the first step is awareness.
Each day leading up to September 19, I'm walking (at least) a mile a day to raise awareness for Usher Syndrome, finishing up that 26.2 mile-a-thon with 1.2 on the 19th. And I'm joining people all over the globe in raising awareness mile by mile, or letter by letter, or day by day, to fight Usher Syndrome.
Join me in raising awareness.
Make a donation.
Tell your politician type people that medical research IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, and challenge them to talk about it (as we approach the never-ending election year, this is gonna be huge for me - and I'm so afraid that this very important topic is going to get buried among so many other things - but it's crucial, y'all).
And then? Go to Twitter and check out the #USHEQX tag and read their stories. Find their hope. Find some hope for me. Help make a difference.
This is a new road for me, and it feels like every other road in Michigan: full of potholes. Let's drive change, huh?