(FYI – All links in this post go to the same place and open in a new window, so you can’t fall back on the “I’ll click after reading” excuse.)
Okay. Most of the time that I write on this blog, I’m trying (often failing) to be funny. Sometimes I’m trying to be “edgy.” Sometimes I’m just being weird with no real purpose. But today, I am writing with a purpose…and hopefully it’s not weird.
I’m well regarded as one of the most sarcastic people most of my friends know. In most circles, I’m known as something of an ass. But even I can see that there are people in the world who suffer a form of suffering that has no reason, no sense of fair play, no bias, and—most devastatingly of all—no cure. I’m talking about people who often find no help from their health-care providers, if in fact they were found “eligible” (whatever that means) for coverage in the first place. Even I can see the need to help. I am speaking of those suffering with neuromuscular diseases like MD, MS, ALS, and Parkinson’s. These people need a cure.
In the years since Jerry Lewis first started doing his MDA Telethon over Labor Day Weekend, we’ve seen advances that no one expected. We’ve seen longer life expectancies. We’ve seen reduction in pain. We’ve seen children smile and be treated as “normal” (whatever that is) at camps, when elsewhere in the world, they have no reason to laugh and no one who understands. We’ve seen people be given HOPE—the most important thing a suffering person can have, assuming they can’t just have health. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is a cure. I don’t get that. I mean, yes, Jesus said that the poor and suffering would always be with us…and there is absolutely no guarantee that every disease created by God, the Devil, and/or man will be curable. But we’ve been getting SO close on this one. What’s it going to take to finally cure these diseases?
Every dollar helps. I know there are a myriad of charities and so on to whom you could choose to give your money. I know that there’s nothing that makes my pet-charity any more worthy than yours (assuming you give to anyone—and assuming they’re not evil). I know that if a disease of this nature has never effected (affected?) your life, there’s absolutely no reason for you to give. That’s fine. I’m still asking.
I am lucky enough to not have any of the aforementioned diseases. I’m still at risk, though. We ALL are. These diseases can hit anyone at any time for no reason at all…and suddenly your life is never the same. My grandfather was living his life, minding his own business, and just trying to be good to people. Then one day, he had a doctor tell him he had Parkinson’s Disease. In the years that followed, he lost the ability to speak clearly. He lost his balance. He eventually lost his dexterity, too—which robbed him of his life’s love of playing his guitar and/or banjo in a band. My grandfather died in 1999. He had other health ailments, but I’ve always felt like his Parkinson’s significantly shortened his life. And I think about that every time I pick up one of his guitars or his banjo, which have been in my possession since his death.
That’s part of why I give to the MDA Telethon. Their thrust is MD (hence their name), but they help provide funding for a myriad of neuromuscular diseases (Parkinson’s is among them, though not their hallmark). I could’ve chosen to give to a Parkinson’s specific charity…but I wanted to give to the MDA, partly because of how public they are. Their telethon is arguably the most famous telethon in the history of TV. They may not be 100% dedicated to the disease that effected (affected?) my family, but their work brings so much public attention to similar diseases that they have my support. Plus, Parkinson’s isn’t the only dog in the hunt. There are many diseases and variants that are killing people who did nothing to deserve them—many of them children—and I think it’s our responsibility to do what we can.
Those whose lives have been in some way altered by conditions addressed by the MDA know the reasons to give. However, as I said before, it may be that your life has never, in any way shape or form, been impacted by any neuromuscular disease. If so, I do hope that you count your blessings. More than that, I hope you’ll count your money and consider giving whatever you can to the MDA Telethon this weekend–even if it’s only a couple of bucks. If you’ve never been impacted by one of these diseases, please consider doing what you can to help KEEP it that way. Anyone from any walk of life can come down with any one of these diseases, regardless of family medical history, economic status, race, gender…and so on, through absolutely no fault of their own. If we work together, we could see these diseases end in our lifetime. I believe that, even if it’s a fool’s hope—but then again, there’s never ANYTHING foolish about hope.
Please consider giving hope to those who need it this weekend. This year is the 44th telethon. That’s too damn many.
Thank you for your attention.
(This post’s staying up until after the telethon, by the way.)