Author: Sue Hagen, Research Services Director
I heard a story about a father and his son out on a bike ride who came upon a drainage tunnel that ran underneath the highway. They decided to get off their bikes and go exploring. They entered the tunnel and started walking when they came to a sharp turn only to find themselves in pitch blackness. As they trudged along in the darkness, the father felt his son’s small hand reach up to hold his own. Hand in hand they walked until they came to another turn and saw light streaming into the tunnel. Then the little boy dropped his father’s hand as they continued their journey.
During these current days of darkness, NAF has its hand out for you to grasp. We are unwavering in our commitment to Ataxia families, even in a COVID-19 world. Equally important, we are also reaching out for your hand. Because in more than 60 years of existence, NAF has witnessed the bravery of those of you affected with Ataxia and of your families. You have faced your disease courageously. We have watched you use humor as you struggle with symptoms that cause people to stare at you. You remind us to not take our abilities for granted. Since your diagnoses, you have been walking in a dark tunnel and yet, as a community, you do not give up. You inspire us, you inspire your physicians, you inspire researchers and now you are inspiring scientists at pharmaceutical companies in ways of which you are likely unaware. Recently NAF has had no less that ten conversations with different pharmas over the past several months, all who are in varying degrees of working on treatments for Ataxia!
Our Commitment to You
And so, as we walk hand in hand, the National Ataxia Foundation makes this commitment to you. We will continue to provide you with the important social and psychological comfort you receive from our Support Groups. We will continue to provide you with the most current information on all things related to living with Ataxia, through webinars, our website, social media outlets and from our staff, when you contact us through email or through our website. We will continue to fund cutting-edge research and provide support to our Ataxia clinical research network. COVID-19 will not stop us from being resolute in our commitment to provide all the resources we are able with a goal of treatments and, even, a cure for Ataxia.
NAF will continue to hold the Ataxia community’s hand through this darkness and beyond. And when the world sees the light at the end of this COVID-19 tunnel, we will not allow dark tunnels of ignorance or lack of research prevent us from achieving our ultimate goal. NAF will shine a light brightly as we continue to do the profound and essential work of serving the Ataxia community.