Our community is fortunate to have so many people dedicated to helping families with pediatric illnesses. Be sure to check out the article on pediatric cancer awareness month featured on our cover.
In addition to pediatric cancer awareness, September is also CMT awareness month in Virginia. Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), a progressive incurable neuromuscular disease, affects 1 in 2,500 people, yet it remains far more obscure than its more well-known cousins, muscular dystrophy and ALS. CMT's symptoms can be invisible to the casual observer, but they eventually have a profound affect on walking, hand dexterity and energy levels. There is no cure.
My personal interest in CMT began when my now 17-year-old daughter was diagnosed with CMT1A at 13. A quarter of her high school years were spent in casts, wheelchairs or on crutches. She had excellent local medical care and outstanding support from Stafford High School staff. Thanks to her teachers and her doctors, I dropped her off last Saturday to start her freshman year of college.
My goal now is to help find a cure for CMT through public awareness and fundraising. Cmtausa.org is funding exciting research into gene-based cures that are closer to fruition than ever. Like the families featured in this issue, I am grateful to live in a community that supports its sickest members and look forward to the day all of us can defeat cancer and neuromuscular diseases.
Leigh Anne Van Doren is the publisher of Fredericksburg Parent and Family.