DISCLAIMER: Before proceeding with this post, please take on-board that this is my personal opinion. I am not an expert on the two compared illnesses, nor am I posting to start a debate, upset or judge anyone. This response is purely to get people thinking about this ad campaign from all different angles.
If you haven't yet read about the controversial ad campaign "I Wish My Son Had Cancer," you may want to read it by clicking on the titled link provided before continuing...
A Response to the "I Wish My Son Had Cancer" | A desperate Ad Campaign that must be looked at from ALL angles
(Pictured: An image that reads "Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy VS The C Word")
Back in 2014 a devoted Father of a 6 year old boy named Harrison did the unthinkable. Words uttered in a parents darkest hour after a devastating diagnosis that would lead their precious son to lose physical abilities one by one, until he can't move anything bar a small motion with one finger, until he's robbed of everything from walking, to swallowing to breathing. Those unimaginable words, that gut wrenching statement that shocked the world came from sheer desperation, of complete helplessness to do anything to stop what will slowly but ultimately rob their son of everything including life itself. He boldly threw that statement out into the world in a desperate plea to save Harrison. What may shock the world more, is the fact that MANY, and I mean...MANY a special needs parent has uttered similar things. If you really put yourself in their shoes and it was your child that had this relentless genetic disorder that had no treatment, nevermind a cure. I'm sure you'd agree you may find yourself wishing your child had another....more "common" condition that might render him with more of a chance of a treatment in his lifetime.
It's important that society realises this statement wasn't just a shock tactic to trigger people to flood Harrisons Fund with thousands of pounds. It was also giving society, the average person who has been lucky enough not to have a child born with such an illness, who haven't stopped to smell the roses because you're too busy enjoying and getting on with life... Well let's face it because nothings stopping you! And that's brilliant and nobody's saying you shouldn't do that. What I'm saying is it hopefully made people stop and think, to re-evaluate their own daily woes in comparison to Harrison's family, to make people more appreciative of how incredibly lucky they are. There's SO many people who are just too busy to stop and think what it must be like in these sort of unimaginable circumstances. They unknowingly take things for granted. Life is precious and we only get ONE shot at it. A cliché term but it's so true!
The saying "Parents often find it the diagnosis and all that it entails much harder to accept than their child with it"
(Pictured: A quote that reads; " The hardest part about being a parent is watching your children go through something really tough and not being able to fix it. All I am doing is all I can do.")
What parents of children with life limiting / terminal illnesses tend to not realise is that they are in a sense suffering from the diagnosis on an emotional level, more than their own child. To their child this is their "normal." Alot have known no different, or if they have (like with DMD lost ability over time), children are like clay...they mould and adapt more easily to change and accept things as just the way they are, so much more than us adults. According to surveys, disabled children often don't go through the emotional roller-coaster of their diagnosis/prognosis until their teens years. Some don't go through a rough patch at all, they've become so used to life as it is. The parent(s) dwell over what that child should of/could of achieved if if weren't for their condition. Finding out your child has an incurable illness of ANY KIND, is devastating! These parents do go through a sort of grieving process for the child they imagined over the child that is. It's a perfectly normal reaction to a drastic life change.
We mustn't forget parents of children in these situations are INCREDIBLE. They find something deep inside themselves to carry on, when their child is hit with blow after blow of complications and hospitalisations. Their brave face and determination helps raise such amazingly adaptable and independent individuals. As a parent, you find ways around anything your child wants to do. You are paving the way for them to believe the sky is the limit. Nothing is impossible and patience and adapting ways to do things enables them to do so. Those are the kinds of disabled adults we need in this day and age. This is certainly how my parents raised me... For that I admire and commend the devotion my parents and others like them have.
I hope I've managed to steer some mindsets in a different direction regarding the article. I think people did brush over this Fathers desperate plight and only saw him wishing his son had something deemed the worst possible condition (if choice played a part!) While I don't entirely agree he should of made his raw thoughts on that a public campaign. Sadly society in a general sense don't understand what a parent of a child with a life limiting/terminal condition goes through, his insistence on such a shock tactic could of cost him a lot of donations for Harrison's Fund. Let's face it, people cannot understand another's train of thought etc if they haven't walked their path. Though I DO understand whole-heartedly what Harrison's Dad was trying to do... because I'm in that "world." The amount of backlash will definitely be a lesson to other campaigns maybe not to go as far as this.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Cancer are two entirety different ball games. Cancer in this article looked as if it was being portrayed as the lesser of two evils, when anyone touched by Cancer would agree it is infact one of the, if not worst diseases out there. Often the treatments for Cancers can trigger more pain and suffering than the disease itself! Although I don't think Harrison's Dad meant to minimalize the devastation of Cancer, sadly that's how it came across. Both conditions are incomparable yet devastating in their own rights.
2017 RESEARCH UPDATE
Thankfully since the "I Wish My Son Had Cancer" campaign ended, there has been ab incredible research breakthrough in treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy! The drug Translarna has been proven to slow the deterioration rate down meaning children are walking longer etc. It's being given to DMD patients with a particular gene mutation that makes up for around 80% of cases. My hopes is that Harrison is now in receipt of this and it brings him and his parents comfort and hope for the future...
If you have any thoughts on this topic, please share them in the comments section!
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