In one of my earliest posts (September of 2010) I wrote the following about a disease known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease:
CMT - Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder (named for the three physicians who discovered it in 1886) is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over two million persons worldwide and is found in both males and females and all ethnic groups. It is a disease of the nerves that control muscles (unlike Muscular Dystrophy which is a disease of the muscles themselves). It is slowly progressive and causes loss of normal function and/or sensation in the lower legs/feet as well as hands/arms. It is not usually fatal or known to affect life expectancy but can become severely disabling.
I wrote this at the time because it was the awareness month for the disease because it is often not properly diagnosed or understood. My daughter, Christine, has had symptoms of the disease for over 27 years and as the material noted above states, it has caused a loss of normal function in her arms, hands and legs. She has had to wear braces for several years and is not able to be gainfully employed. Yet, with all these setbacks she has maintained a wonderful spirit, a terrific sense of humor and has found other ways of filling her time with a return to her art and with her writing (she also has a blog which I have mentioned in the past and can be accessed by going to atticusmom1.blogspot.com).
This September has seen another "awareness month" for CMT and it has also brought my wife and I some reasons to be very proud of our daughter. To begin with, she was given the national award by the CMT national association for how she has dealt with her disease and what she has been able to accomplish in spite of it. This award, known as the I'm a Star award, is given to one person each year. In addition, September's issue of Artists' World Magazine was dedicated to CMT and featured artists who have CMT or know a relative or friend who has it. My daughter submitted three paintings for consideration; all three were included in the issue (which is sent to all art galleries and museums) and she received an award for each of them: Best in Color; Best Abstract; and Best Mixed Media. You can readily understand why we as parents are extremely proud of our artist and writer daughter who is using her talents regardless of the handicaps she has.
These achievements by my daughter would be enough to brag about in this post but there are two other items of note that I would like to share. This week I will be privileged to witness the marriage of one of the altar boys who served in the first parish where I was assigned as a deacon. I realize I am getting older but it is a true joy to be able to see one of the young people you have known to grow and arrive at this important moment in life.
Later in October, I will be traveling to Rome to witness the canonization of our first Native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha, who was born in Auriesville, New York in the 1600s. Her birthplace is located within our Diocese of Albany, New York, and a large contingent of pilgrims is going from Albany to witness this great event. In addition to attending the canonization, I will also have the privilege to assist our bishop and deliver the homily at a church in Rome on October 19 which is the feast of the North American martyrs who were martyred in Auriesville just ten years before the young Native American maiden was born. I am looking forward to this pilgrimage with great anticipation.
With all the problems our world faces today (and there are certainly many), it is good to know that we can rejoice when good and wonderful things happen in our lives. Such has been the case for me lately and I am deeply grateful to God for these blessings.