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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Sounds of Silence

Silence can be a welcome break from the rush and noise of the day.  I love coming home to a quiet house.
I have always enjoyed long periods of solitude to reflect and refresh.  Most of us are uncomfortable with silence.  We fill every void in conversation.  Watch most runners and you will see the iPod or radio that provides the sound track for their workout. Most Americans have the constant background noise of  TV or music.

Silence is sometimes a form or rejection. The partner or friend giving you the "silent treatment" when they angry is familar to all of us.  I have gotten used to the silence and the implied rejection when I took up raising money and awareness for CMT.

I great support from friends and extended family when I sent out my first fundraising letter last September.  I was so touched by a friend whose is a single mom who apologized because she could only give $5. I was touched by her generous heart and desire to help.  I had several friends that were really curious about CMT and how it affected me personally. I was touched by several friends and extended family whose generosity surprised me.

What really puzzled me was the silence from my immediate family and some really long time friends.
I can understand "no" in a tough ecnonomy. I understand the need to pay bills and make tutition payments.
I can understand being busy and forgetting to give.
 I was hurt by the silence from my brothers and sisters. Not one of them even asked about the CMT. One has it and her children have it. One brother even rudely put the letter aside as I handed it to him.  He plead poverty even though he had been on two trips to Asia in the past year.

I think I would have gottem more response if I had been asking for money for some random fundraiser. Are they embarassed, think I am doing ok? One friend I sent a fundraising request to, did not send me a Chistmas card for the first time in over 20 years. I wonder if  what I did the wrong thing and offended him.
 Silence tells me nothing. It has made me question my reletionship with each one of them. Did they not even care enough to ask a question or make a casual remark. Do they care about how I am doing or what it means to me to have CMT?

It is also hard when I send in a request for sponsorship or submit an article for publication and I hear nothing. No I understand, no has certainity.  With silence I wonder if they got the request.

Here is what this silence has taught me.  I can't take the lack of response personally. I believe my mission is to raise awareness of CMT.  If I make a request from someone I have made them aware of CMT. The rest is up to God.  If he means for them to be part of my work he will have them respond.   Jesus told his diciples that if they went to a town and were not welcome to leave and shake the dust from their sandals.  In other words, don't take it personally, move on. If someone wants to give or be part of Team CMT that is up to God and it's not about me. God may have something else in mind for them and me.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

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