Jul 302013


Hope Conquers All

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

When my father was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that caused his immune system to attack and destroy the outer lining of his nerves, my family had a difficult time coping.  My father was always a strong man.  He climbed mountains, rode his bike for miles and miles, worked 60+ hours a week, etc.  He was unstoppable.  That is, until the Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) stole his balance, muscle strength, ability to use his hands and feet, and caused him an enormous amount of pain throughout his body.  It got so bad, that he couldn’t even turn the key to start his car or open a can of soda.  We never saw it coming, and we weren’t prepared for the father we knew to disappear before our very eyes.

After hours of online research, I reached out to a very kind woman, Wendy, who had the same condition as my father, and blogged about her journey.  She had recently gone through an experimental stem cell transplant at Northwestern University in Chicago, and her symptoms were significantly better. She urged me to get my father into the program.  She walked me through the application steps, financial questions, and the steps of the procedure itself.  More importantly, she listened to me and helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life.  She gave me and my family hope.  

My father was accepted into the program last fall, and is now on the road to recovery.  His strength is slowly coming back, he is pain free, and off all medication, and his attitude is a lot brighter.  I can actually see the father I grew up with again. 

Dad holding Kayleigh

My Dad holding Kayleigh.  Something he probably would not be able to do today without the stem cell transplant.

I truly believe that connecting with Wendy was one of the best things to happen to our family during our time of need.  Talking with someone who has been through, or is going through the same thing you are, can be so very beneficial.  Without her motivation, my father may have never gone through the stem cell transplant, and would be far worse off than he is today.  My parents were able to meet Wendy in person during one of their trips to Chicago, and it was such a blessing to them. 

For more than 15 years, the nonprofit CaringBridge  has served as a lifeline of hope, bringing together families struggling with illnesses and tragedies. Sona Mehring, the founder of CaringBridge wants to share these important collections of stories to inspire hope through her new book, Hope Conquers All. Ranging from young children with cancer, to adults awaiting transplants, these first-person accounts share the importance CaringBridge had in their personal journeys. For uplifting tales to share with those who are in need of love and support, or even to just reflect on how brave these individuals were through such troubled times, learn more about Sona Mehring’s book and how to purchase here:http://caringb.org/hope  All author proceeds will go to CaringBridge.

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