For some reason, asking for help has always been extremely hard for me. I think part of that is due to my mother constantly encouraging me to succeed on my own. She wanted to make me strong and thank goodness she did because life throws a bunch of hurdles at you and then seems to laugh at you when watching you try to jump them all. Luckily, I have learned to jump, probably thanks to my mom. The biggest hurdle for me was the plain fact that my son was born with a blinding retinal degenerative disease. Even then, my mom served as a role model, because her sons were born with that same disease and she knew that I could be a carrier. I think that's why she taught us to "jump" the hurdles. Most of those hurdles just meant teaching my son to do the best he can despite his disease.
My mom is awesome, don't get me wrong, but six years ago, I found the Jacksonville Chapter of Foundation Fighting Blindness and I discovered a whole new group of people that were jumping their own hurdles. My mom and dad had to go through years of jumping hurdles alone. Now that I found this group, I was no longer alone and the hurdles seemed much easier to jump. Not only that, but I realized that there were thousands of people across the country trying to raise money for people with these blinding disease. So, now I had a mission. BUT, I also have had this ongoing theme of never really having to ask people for help. Raising money for cures clearly means you have to ask people for help and in some cases, you have to come right out and ask for money. After all, it's the money that pays for the research that leads to cures.
I'm also impatient. Doctors cured my son's disease in mice over ten years ago. Why is it taking so long to get that cure to a human? Did you know it takes $40 million just to get a potential cure to a human clinical trial? Do you know how long it takes to raise that much money? Did you know that if everything goes perfectly it could take over 15 years just to get that potential cure to a human even when the trial is fully funded?
I AM ON A MISSION! I can't sit around being afraid to ask for help any longer. Brendon's friend's are getting their learner's permits. They're going to be driving their dates to the movies soon. Today, Brendon doesn't get to do that. I know life could be much worse... but imagine not driving and what that does to a young man.
Brendon said to me the other night that this disease was both the best and worst thing that ever happened to him. It's taught him to jump hurdles that none of his friends even have to imagine. It's also taught him to be strong. BUT I'm sure that there are times when he's not strong, when he feels angry at the world for making him have to overcome something he shouldn't have to overcome. I'm constantly amazed at his resilience but darn it, he shouldn't have to be so resilient!
So, all the shame I used to have in asking is gone. Quite simply, we need funding for research and we need it now. If you agree and you want to see Brendon and the millions of others with these diseases see cures, then join us in our fight against blindness. You can join us in many ways:
Direct to MOMS for Sight: http://www.momsforsight.org
Direct to Team Brendon: http://www.fightblindness.org/goto/teambrendon
Direct to Team Optimistic: http://www.fightblindness.org/site/TR/VISIONWALK/VisionWalktr?team_id=74760&pg=team&fr_id=5230