Trading Punches

By Laura Edwards

Tonight, Donya – the mother of a 4-year-old little girl – posted the following message on our Facebook page:

I am the mother of Ali, whom is 4 years old. she was diagnosed with Infantile Battens on July 15, 2011. I am writing to you to express my sincere gratitude for all you efforts in raising funds for research with Battens disease. I often feel great despair as i am a single mom trying to raise funds & awareness as to the impact i am making. I praise the Lord as i read all the great discoveries that you have funded for this disease. This gives me great HOPE & i am so thankful for Taylors Tale! God bless you for bringing us one step closer to the CURE waiting to be found!

I don’t believe any two experiences are identical, but nearly six years after Taylor’s diagnosis, I still remember the emotions I battled on a daily basis as I struggled to comprehend our tragedy – and how quickly and dramatically our world shrank as we searched for other families that understood – or at least had the ability to offer some semblance of a map for the dark, cruel world into which we’d fallen overnight.

Six years isn’t a very long time in most cases, but it’s a long time to fight Batten disease, because fighting Batten disease is like getting up every morning, heading straight into a fistfight, losing badly, standing up slowly, staggering into the corner, slumping down on the stool for a quick rest and then stumbling back into the middle of the ring to do it all over again. It’s crazy. But we do it – I do it – out of hope that every once in awhile, I’ll get in a good lick or two, and maybe – just maybe – when I’m all bruised and bloodied, I’ll manage to land a surprise haymaker and take down the disease that dared to take my sister away from me.

Donya, thank you for sharing the impact Taylor’s Tale has had on your own very personal fight with Batten disease. Just five short years before your daughter’s diagnosis, my family received the same shocking diagnosis of infantile Batten disease. The doctor said that nothing could be done and sent us home to make happy memories with my little sister while we still could. But that wasn’t good enough for us.

I’ve taken a lot of shots over the past six years; the road ahead will be more difficult than any I’ve traveled before – and I still haven’t landed that haymaker. But I don’t want any child or family to have to settle for a world in which there are no answers, and as long as I’m still standing, I’ll keep fighting on behalf of children like Ali and Taylor!

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