Letter to the Editor

Raising awareness for two issues

May is a very meaningful month for my family, as it is both Mental Health Awareness Month and NF (Neurofibromatosis) Awareness Month.

In 2014, I lost my beautiful sister, Renee, to suicide. Suicide is an unfortunate death that many people struggle to understand. It is real, and it does not discriminate. It doesn't matter how much you love your family, if you have children, if you have a great job. The embarrassment that doesn't allow people struggling to speak up and have those awkward, necessary, real conversations with their loved ones out of fear of resentment, the fear of weakness, the fear of disapproval. We must eliminate the stigma. It is OK to not be OK! You are not alone!

In 1999, my family was introduced to NF. My beautiful daughter, Mia, was just a baby when she was diagnosed with this genetic disorder that has no cure. It is a complex disorder that comes with many damaging effects. There have been many scary moments in the past 22 years as well as rare manifestations of her disorder, but those who know Mia know that she jumps the many hurdles thrown her way with unbelievable courage and strength.

While neither of these are circumstances we would wish for, they are parts of our lives that we must embrace and use to better the lives of those affected by mental health challenges and NF.

To learn more about these two things my family advocates for, please visit afsp.org or ctf.org