OCTOBER IS SPINA BIFIDA AWARENESS MONTH.
It’s not every day that I write to a celebrity who resides in my local community, but today I E-mailed the Tiger Woods Foundation, started by golf champion and my practically-neighbor, Tiger Woods. The foundation aims to empower youth by “providing access to critical developmental programs.” It provides scholarships and grants to students ages 8 to 18, and focuses on those who have a demonstrated financial need and a “commitment to community service.” In addition, Tiger’s Action Plan concentrates on character development of young people, as well as on career exploration.
Here’s a brief little story: When I was about eight or nine, Mom and I appeared as extras in an American Express commercial featuring Tiger! (Well, “appeared” is really overstating it– “took part in” would be more like it! I remember all of us “extras” got to shake his hand. Who knows? Maybe if I get a reply, I’ll also get a “mulligan”– that’s a “do-over” in golf jargon! (Perhaps I can meet him again, he he.)
And now for an exciting update in my “publicity campaign” for my blog. This person actually reached out to me, and not the other way around. I received an E-mail this morning from Renée Jopp, communications officer for the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. I must admit, I really wish I had known of its existence before! But I am thrilled. Ms. Jopp wants to include the blog’s link on their Web site! Of course, I immediately checked it out, and was amazed at the different spina bifida organizations that have partnered with the IF. They have partners everywhere from Algeria to Venezuela, from Hong Kong to Uganda.
Ms. Jopp mentioned that she recently returned from a trip to Romania, where she heard horrifying stories about doctors who try to pressure women into aborting their unborn child with spina bifida. While my blog is written in English, and is most likely followed generally by Americans, we must not forget the thousands of people who live in less-than-humane conditions. I can easily speculate that many of these children with SB die pretty young from a number of complications– infection from the spinal aperture if there is no access to a surgeon, cerebrospinal fluid build-up (again, if there isn’t a surgeon on call who can insert a shunt), and even bladder infections. The morbid possibilities are endless, and therefore precious lives end way too soon. I definitely hope to keep in touch with Ms. Jopp and with the federation, and will let you all know about any other communications I have with them.
For now, I must leave you. I am beginning to get hungry, and I also want to head over to the hospital soon to visit my Abuelita and see if I can help Mom out with anything. My grandma speaks very little English, so there is the constant need for a translator! Please keep following and sharing my blog with everyone! Also, don’t forget that we have a Facebook group that you can join in support. This gives me a better idea of who has been reading the blog. Here’s the link to that group:
Thanks for your continued support, and for your friendship,