Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lesson 145: U Find Who UR Friends R

U OK?  
Y  I M fine

That Readers, is an example of a text message between myself and a friend.  Just a quick little note to let me know she hadn't heard from me and was concerned.  That is what friends do.  They show concern.

I was reminded of how many friends I have this weekend due to back to back charity events:  The 11th Annual Erie Walk for Autism and Prayers for Peyton, a benefit for my cousin.   People turned out in droves to show their support by donating time and money of course, but the true strength was their bodies in numbers.

I don't want this post to be about the number of walkers or tickets sold.  Nor do I feel the need to post the dollar amounts that were raised.  We can safely say "a lot" for both events.  What we do need to focus on is the support one gains through people--our friends and family--some we know and most we don't.  They are card carrying members of our Human Nation and they show up.  They show up because they care.

Eloise is thrilled the licensing worked for this song because it is one of my favorites.  Find Out Who Your Friends Are is on Tim McGraw's Greatest Hits Collection.  Singing with him are his buddies Kenny Chesney and Tracy Lawrence.  The latter two are reasons I DON'T like country music.  Too twangy for my taste.  But hey, any friends of Tim's are friends of mine.  If you are a fan, you can tell which lines are Tim's because they sound the sweetest.

According to the song lyrics, friends are the people who are:
gonna drop everything, run out and crank up their car,
hit the gas, get there fast,
not stop and think "What's in it for me?"
Or think, "It's way too far,"
They just show on up,
With their big old hearts.

The events drew quite a crowd because autism and cancer are two of life's challenges that touch almost someone in some way or another.  Is there someone with autism in your family?  How about on your street? Have you ever been sick?  Are you a survivor or held the hand of someone who was?  You have been touched by both, probably more times than you care to admit.

Take a look at this new visual for cancer ribbons:

There are not enough colors on the spectrum to represent them all, so poor lung cancer has to be clear and other ribbons have more than one color.  

You can see ribbons everywhere.  My sister Kenyan Karen has one on her Honda Pilot.  I had one, but I teach in schools remember, and the teenagers like to swipe them.  Even my dad has joined in the game.  He isn't much for showing up at charity events, but just this simple gesture shows that he cares:
 Ribbons on the side of his beer refrigerator in the Garagemahal.

The top one is for autism.  Glad it made it over the Pittsburgh Steelers (guess they needed one after last season), and the Harborcreek Fire Department.

Thankful as I am for my friends, as shown in the photo movie, still Eloise writes tonight with a heavy heart.  We've been walking for autism for 11 straight years and cancer for the last 30.  We send money for research, wear t-shirts, and we walk all through the night in some events like Light Up the Night; but what progress have we really made?  The report card for Awareness reads A Plus.  A report card for number of needed ribbons to represent forms of cancer:  F.  And for Identification of Children With Autism:  E.F.  (Epic Failure).

There are a million different organizations for autism and cancer.  You can pick any one of these to find out the latest statistics and information:

These organizations are without a doubt, filled with people who care.  People who want answers.  Those who understand the desperation one feels when a loved one is suffering with cancer or with autism.  

I keep abreast of the the bottom log on the totem pole of organizations I just made for you.  Autism Speaks.  They have a loud voice and like their logo suggests, It's time YOU listen.  According to a recent post on their website, here are some things that researchers are looking at:
2010 symposium also generated a list of ten chemicals considered highly likely to contribute to autism and other NDDs. These chemicals, already widely distributed in the environment, show evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.
They are:
1. Lead
2. Methylmercury
3. PCBs
4. Organophosphate pesticides
5. Organochlorine pesticides
6. Phthalates
7. Bisphenol A
8. Automotive exhaust
9. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
10. Brominated flame retardants

*NDD's mean neurological developmental disorders.  I wish there were 12 because I'd call them the dirty dozen.  There are only ten.  I wish I could think of a swear word that started with a t.  If you think of something clever, email me privately.

I'm no genius.  I went to a state college.  I stink at math.  But I do have a brain and I am not afraid to use it.  I can at least do a dot-to-dot and follow the numbers.  When I connect these, aren't these the same bad boys the cancer snuffing researchers are after, too?

A Cancer Pocket.  I was told once that I live in a cancer pocket by a local doctor.  "What in the hell does that mean?"  I wanted to scream.  But instead I politely asked, "Could you please clarify?"  The good doctor told me that the great lakes farming region that we live in has a high incidence of cancer.  I also live in a factory town by a large body of water.  Coastal areas also have a higher incidence of both cancer and autism.  You see that some of the words you can read are pesticides and exhaust.  We drink these, breathe these, absorb these into our bodies.  Everyone.

Mercury and metals like aluminum are a component of childhood vaccinations.  Yes, I mentioned the V word.  I heard some of you click the red X and that is fine.  It's a hot topic even within my own family.  Vaccinations are proven to work.  I know that.  We've eradicated diseases that killed and crippled thousands of children. That is a victory.  But if you look closely into vaccine history, we've gone overboard in the amount of required vaccinations and children are receiving more vaccinations than ever before.  The rise of autism since 1989 and the change in the vaccination schedule are synonymous.  I watched two of my own children have seizures after a vaccination series and had adverse reactions myself as a baby.

I recently found this pinterest pin and it made me think.  Does it make you think as well?  I am not familiar with the organization listed under the statements.  I do not support them or disagree.  I'm just saying it makes one think.  1 in 88.  That's more than just "better diagnosis."

I'll step down from my blogworld soap box tonight, and put my poisoned pen down.  I mean no harm--I am urging a real call to arms.  Cancers and autism on the rise---do the math---it does not add up.  Genetics alone do not account for all of it.  Just a part.  I readily admit my part when I toss my double helix in the ring.  Now it is time for others to do the same:  drug manufacturers, industrial plants, and farmers.

We can't find a cure without finding the cause.  People are working on it, so in the mean time, Eloise recommends the following:

  • Keep reading.  
  • Question everything.
  • Check twice.
  • Step back. 
  • Look at the big picture.
  • Connect the dots.
  • Dig deep.
  • Eat clean.
  • Help someone.
  • Lend support.
  • Love one another.
  • Pray.
  • Be a friend.
Here endeth the lesson for the weekend:  Support your friends in their times of need.  They will do the same for you when you become needy.  Thank you everyone for a weekend of renewed hope in mankind.  

Love from The Lamp Post,

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