Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Friend In Need

Cindy Coble and I were classmates back in high school.  She was someone others always enjoyed being around: very bright, very sarcastic, very funny, very bold and often the center of attention, which was right where she loved to be.

Fast forward 25 years: Cindy joined Facebook and quickly reconnected with everyone.  Once again, she finds herself the center of attention among her friends, but now she needs everyone's help.  Cindy suffers from Myasthenia Gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder characterized by fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups, and  which can affect muscles that control eye movements, eyelids, chewing, swallowing, coughing and facial expression, as well as the arms and legs and sometimes the muscles that control breathing. The prevalence of MG in the US is estimated to be about 1 in 5,000 people, and at present there is no cure.

In her own words, Cindy describes how she became an MG sufferer:
In 2007, I was hit by a car while riding my bike, and had to have a double cervical spine fusion. I developed a super bad infection in my spinal cord, that landed me in the ICU for a coupla weeks. I never got better. My neuro thinks a virus or pathogen entered my system, tripped my immune system, and i ended up with Myasthenia Gravis. I used to be very active, totally type "A", and was very athletic. Now, taking a shower or grocery shopping wears me out. This disease is progressive, and there is no cure. Some folks enjoy remission, but generally it comes back. A cure in my lifetime may not happen, but I'd like to think we could make progress for future sufferers.
To her great credit, Cindy doesn't spend a lot of time bemoaning her fate.  That wouldn't be Cindy.  Sure, she has her times of frustration with MG, and more than once she has gone out of her way to thank everyone on FB for understanding as she...
...whine[s] and bitch[es] about slowly losing my abilities to walk, talk, work, hold a fork, crack an egg, bathe my dog, go sledding with my kids, tie shoes, think, swallow, breathe, shave my legs, volunteer, sing, dance, etc. I know I'm a total bitch and breakdowns are always ugly to witness, and I appreciate your jibs, jokes, and posts. Please consider giving blood this season, so many of us require a shitload, it's the best present, and you may mail it directly to me. I promise to share. 
Despite those frustrations, Cindy's personality still comes through in her words.  She is strong in spirit even as MG causes physical weaknesses.  Cindy doesn't live with MG; MG lives with Cindy!

This year, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America's fundraising efforts take the form of MG Walks.  There are several physical walks scheduled in the Florida area, but for those not local to Florida, there is the Virtual Walk.  This is the walk that Cindy is involved with. Her goal is to raise $2000 toward research for a cure for MG, and she is already over a quarter of the way there!

Here is where you can help out.  Every little bit counts, and if you are able to donate even $5 or $10 towards Cindy's walk, you'd be helping immensely.  There is a link below to donate towards Cindy's goal, and Cindy's page can be found here - please go, read, learn, and if you can, help her reach her $2000 goal.  Or, as she has said, "Even if you're not inclined to donate, take a second to read a little. I thank thee!"

It would mean a great deal to me to know that my readers helped out, and I know it would mean the world to Cindy.  Thank you in advance for your generosity.

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