Raising Awareness – One Card at a Time

I am going to brag.

Brace yourself.  It might be a long one.

A short time before we headed to Disney, I wrote about taking out Meghan’s push chair for an appointment in Manhattan.  She was terribly bothered by the rude stares that greeted us that day.

As a result we talked, a lot.  And, like she always does – she comes through those conversations blowing my mind with her introspective maturity.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I sometimes worry that my 10 year old is such a deep thinker.  I am acutely aware that she has way more on her plate than she should, and she handles with grace and poise a life that would leave many adults weeping under their covers.  I wish she told me everything.  I know she doesn’t.  My heart often breaks for the burdens she carries.

Yet, she is just so amazing.

After we spoke about the rude “starers” she talked about wanting to have a way to let them know about Cowden’s Syndrome.  She wanted to raise awareness.

This card was created out of her need to "teach" others about Cowden's Syndrome.
This card was created out of her need to “teach” others about Cowden’s Syndrome.

So she gave her ideas to Daddy and he created this card.  We used the logo from the “Global Genes Project,” an organization that has been dear to Meghan since her diagnosis. http://globalgenes.org/

Meghan wears proudly the denim ribbon created for her by a family friend when she expressed a desire to have a ribbon. something she could wear that would represent her.

A denim cause ribbon, crafted after the Global Genes Project's slogan, "Hope it's in our Genes!"
A denim cause ribbon, crafted after the Global Genes Project’s slogan, “Hope it’s in our Genes!”

She dreams of one day seeing another child wearing this symbol.  She wants it to become as common as the “pink ribbon.”  Because, there are about 7,000 rare diseases, and 1 in every 10 people is affected by one.  Many of these diseases are genetic.  As we learn more about other rare diseases, Meghan understands the need for the rare disease community to unite.  So little research is done on so many of these diseases that they remain poorly understood and under funded.

As we packed for the trip – Meghan asked if we could print some of the business cards for her to bring to Disney.  She wanted to be able to hand them out.  She knew people from all over the world visit Disney, so it would be a great place to spread the word.  500 cards later, I made sure she had all the tools she needed.

What happened next was just another example of how easy it is to be proud to be her mother.

Meghan decided that instead of getting an autograph book this year, she would take pictures with the Disney characters with her cards.

She also spontaneously struck up conversations with complete strangers all over the parks.   She would approach cast members, wait staff, photographers, and guests.  She spoke to people from the US and well beyond.

And every time she spoke my heart smiled.

She is an incredibly articulate young lady.  She explained Cowden’s Syndrome through the eyes of a ten year old to almost 200 people.

Some of the most memorable included a man and his wife and their service dog on the bus to Downtown Disney, and a helpful cast member from Puerto Rico outside the fitting room as she tried on her Merida dress, and a Disney Photopass photographer whose genuine hug was so heartwarming.

Those were just a few.  She spoke to so many people over the course of our 9 day trip that I have no doubt there is a greater awareness of Cowden’s Syndrome in the world than there was just 2 weeks ago.

She will tell you she is not a public speaker.

She might even try to tell you she is shy.

I will tell you she is flat out amazing, and that she is going to do already doing great things.

This child will make the world more aware – one card, and one conversation at a time.

These are Just a few who learned something new this week!

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6 thoughts on “Raising Awareness – One Card at a Time

  1. Way to go Meghan. Glad to see the Disney pictures. Looks like you had a fun trip. I really like the business cards. So much that I want to ask if you would mind if I borrowed the idea. Our local bra decorating contest is in October. I finally decided to use the Global Genes logo and the cards would fit in with the display. Thanks Tami

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