Friday, April 8, 2011
Breaking the Ice Jam - Pat Fero and Mary Schweitzer
I attended the two-day NIH conference this week. This conference was available to the public at large through a video cast. I will write a few impressions of the conference another time. For now I want to write about the most extraordinary and significant moment of this conference - the two presentations by Pat Fero and Mary Schweitzer. These two women were selected by Dr Dennis Mangan to represent ME/CFS patients on the NIH organizing committee. They were chosen from a list of suggestions from the ME/CFS community. Dr Mangan could not have made a better choice. Those who suffer from this illness could have had no better representation than these two provided. Both Pat and Mary, in their different ways, made articulate stirringly emotional statements about this illness. There was no mealy mouth here. I cannot wait to watch these presentations again, as these were powerfully gripping moments. (These videos are in several parts on youtube.)
In the presence of these two women I feel humbled and inadequate. These women are the real deal, an embodiment of an individual’s rising up and out of the most difficult situation. I repeat: no one could have done a better job of speaking for those of us affected by this illness.
During the presentations, the emotion in the room ran very high. It was an astonishing moment in time. If anything could break the ice with the NIH, it would be the testimonies of these two women. Anyone listening would have to have a heart of stone to not resonate to these women’s words.