Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life.” – Albert Einstein
It’s hard to believe we are already saying goodbye to July and summer’s end is in sight. This month many of us at the firm took our chance to travel and spend time with family again. My family flew to New York to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday with an afternoon tea party, hats and all. It was a joyous family reunion with 5 of her 6 children, 3 son-in-laws, 10 of her 12 grandchildren, and all 8 great-grandsons in attendance after more than a year of almost complete isolation for my mother and separation for the rest of us. It was wonderful to celebrate family, love and life.
July is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Month and our choice for this month’s Wave of Change campaign. This one is personal for me. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis and other pediatric rheumatic diseases affect nearly 300,000 kids and teens in the United States. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (“RA”) when I was 10 years old.
For over forty years I have lived with this disease. Along with the pain and challenges, living with RA has brought me many gifts: determination, resilience, responsibility, strength, courage, perspective, gratitude and a desire to help others.
At a very early age, I had to learn to manage living with pain, be responsible for taking my medications, doing my daily exercise routine, and living with new restrictions. I had to be make healthy choices and give up some of my favorite physical activities, like horseback riding and climbing trees. I remember how hard it was for me as a child to have to miss my nightly bedtime snack as I watched my sister have hers because I had to take my medication on an empty stomach. And as I became a young adult, I had to commit to consuming no alcohol due to my medications. I gained a lot of personal strength from undergoing multiple blood tests (I was terrified of needles), medical procedures and surgeries. I remember the pain of keeping my hands in ice buckets until they went numb so my physical therapist could stretch them before I exercised.
As a young pre-teen and teen, then a young woman, I avoided shorts and skirts that would show my swollen knees. I wore splints on both hands and went to bed in traction every night for my hips. I often missed school, at times for days or even weeks, due to my pain or hospitalizations. We didn’t have special education then. But the nuns and teachers at my Irish Catholic School took care of me, made accommodations, and supported me. I wish it was that easy today. And it is one of the sources of my personal satisfaction and compassion for advocating for children with disabilities in school.
The most important lessons I gained from living with arthritis were perspective and gratitude. I was appreciative of the good days and all my blessings, as I knew there were always others who had it worse. As a result of my experience, my father started the first chapter of the Arthritis Foundation in Dublin, Ireland where we lived. And he taught me the importance of giving back.
So, this month as my way of giving back, my firm made a $1,000 donation to the Arthritis Foundation.
If you would like to make a contribution, you may do so here.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa
I hope you are able to spend time this summer with your loved ones, appreciating the chance to take some time off, travel, embrace loved ones, and just breathe with less fear again. It’s been a rough year and a half, we deserve it.
Have a safe and blessed summer.
Meldie M. Moore & the Entire Team,
Moore Law For Children.