Last week my class had the pleasure of
speaking with Vanessa Vazquez, a fellow Florida International University student. She came to speak to us about Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, also known as TSC. TSC is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs at the same time, primarily the eyes, heart, kidney, liver, skin, and lungs. TSC affects some severely and others so mildly that it often goes undiagnosed. Those severely affected are subjected to a lifetime of seizures. TSC is the leading genetic cause of epilepsy and autism. Approximately 50,000 people in the United States are infected, with about 395 of them living in Florida.
Vanessa Vazquez’s son Lucca is infected with TSC, which is the reason for her interest and knowledge of the disease; however she is not the average mother. Here is a young woman that manages being a full-time mother to a special needs child, a wife, and a full-time student, all the while working a full-time job. On top of that she is the Vice-Chair of the South Florida chapter of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, the only national organization dedicated to finding a cure for TSC. I think she deserves a round of applause!
Listening to Vanessa speaking about TSC and her experience with her son reminded me of two things. 1) We should never take our health or the health of our loved ones for granted. Healthy people don’t know what it’s like to be on medication or to deal with the unpleasant effects of a disease like TSC. Having good health is more valuable than we usually remember. 2) We were all born with the humanitarian duty to help the less fortunate. We don’t all have the time or money to donate to a cause, but we can do others things to help. Clothes you or your children are no longer wearing can be given to a homeless shelter and one donated toy at Christmas can go a long way. A lot of us already do these things, if you do; applause to you too!
The TS Alliance will be having a walk to raise awareness on October 22, 2011, for more information on the walk or general information on TSC, visit www.tsalliance.org