Letter to the Editor

Awareness for Neurofibromatosis

Almost 20 years ago, shortly after welcoming my sister Mia into the world, my family and I learned that she had a genetic disorder known as Neurofibromatosis (NF for short). Our family was pitted against a disorder with relatively few treatments and no cure, and Mia was facing a lifelong battle against her own body. The years that have followed have been filled with innumerable doctors' appointments, scans, medications and medication adjustments, and worry. At the same time, the years have been filled with watching Mia grow into a beautiful woman who is driven, kind, and quite possibly the funniest person I have ever known. Though the hurdles have been numerous, Mia has faced them with her head held high. While we never would have chosen for this disorder to affect our family in the way it has, we have welcomed the fight and will fight until a cure is found.

NF is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body, resulting in blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disfigurement, disabling pain, or even cancer. Despite the harrowing possibilities, you would never know Mia has been afflicted with anything of the sort.

If you would like to learn more about Neurofibromatosis, or the Children's Tumor Foundation, the leading research organization for NF-type disorders, please visit www.ctf.org.

TYLER SCHWETTMAN, St. Louis (formerly of Cape Girardeau)