Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011 8:49:28 PM
Everyone knows about muscular dystrophy – it’s a disease that torments those kids in wheelchairs and leg braces. It’s Jerry Lewis and telethons, and it’s more than you might realize. Muscular dystrophy is a disease with many subcategories, most of which are collectively unheard of, even though they might run rampant through society. One of these subcategories is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or CMT. An estimated one in every 2,500 people has CMT; according to the CMT Association, that’s 2.6 million people worldwide, and many don’t even know they have it. CMT is a form of progressive peripheral neuropathy, meaning that over time, people with CMT lose nerve functions in their extremities, specifically hands and feet. Anyone can have CMT, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. CMT is a very destructive disease that causes immense pain and, often times, disfigurement and deformities.
Four out of the five members of my family have CMT – my dad, my older brother, my younger sister, and me. I can say from experience that this disease hurts too much and causes too much disruption to be ignored. There has to be a cure, and we have to find it. My feet have been progressively deforming my entire life, most rapidly in the last five years. If CMT is not given attention, then such organizations as the CMTA will not be able to get the funds to find a cure. Without a cure, I will eventually be unable to walk.
The CMTA held its first awareness month in August of 2011 after a successful awareness week the year before. This awareness month needs to be national. It needs to be given importance, because it affects so many people. CMT Awareness Month must happen. CMT must be cured.