A Mother's Story of Finding Your People, Accepting a Diagnosis and Loving Her Kid for Exactly Who She is with Jordan's Guardian Angels Mom – Carole Bakhos
ONCE UPON A GENE – EPISODE 097
A Mother’s Story of Finding Your People, Accepting a Diagnosis and Loving Her Kid for Exactly Who She is with Jordan’s Guardian Angels Mom – Carole Bakhos
Carole Bakhos’ eight year old daughter Yara was diagnosed with Jordan’s Syndrome five years ago. She shares how being Yara’s mom has been an enabling journey of love, fear, joy and hope. Carol is the Project Manager for Jordan’s Guardian Angels.
Can you tell us about your family?
We started on the rare disease journey when my daughter was two years old, diagnosed with a rare disease in the gene PPP2R5D, now known as Jordan’s Syndrome. At the time, there were six children in the world who were known to have the disease, so we weren’t given a lot of information. Our journey started as one of fear of the unknown and isolation. The diagnosis wasn’t the end of our journey, but the start of a world of self-educating, learning and connecting. Now we have a global family that understand our experience.
How did meeting others help you take action and accept Yara’s diagnosis?
You realize it’s not just about your child, but it’s much bigger than that and the impact becomes that much bigger, more powerful and rewarding.
Were you able to keep working or did you stay home to care for Yara full time?
The first three years, I tried to do it all— working and focusing on my career, meeting with Yara’s therapists at lunch, coming home to work with Yara, staying up all night reading and researching, creating activities for her and obsessing over it all. I got used to this routine and one day I knew I had to stop. I took six months off to focus on Yara, getting research started, collecting data and organizing the group. It was a tough decision and I struggled with it. Fate was kind to me and I’m now able to channel my skill and passion into my work with Jordan’s Guardian Angels, connect with other families and make a difference.
What are your tips for changing your perspective and mindset in these circumstances?
I remember a moment of sulking and I thought about Yara and realized I was letting a beautiful thing that came into my life be a source of pain. I didn’t want her to bring me anything but joy. I decided to love and celebrate Yara and give her a chance to make me happy. While thinking of the future can sometimes feel overwhelming, I want to ensure I give Yara the opportunity to continue filling my heart with joy.
What work is Jordan’s Guardian Angels doing?
Jordan’s Guardian Angels was started by the Lang family after their daughter Jordan was diagnosed with what is now called Jordan’s Syndrome. The foundation has put together a research team from ten institutions and we meet every other month to share updates on the work and treatments path. We were able to get a grant that launched our work forward and we continue to open doors and turn stones over. Jordan’s Syndrome has now been connected to Epilepsy, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the work we’re doing can potentially bring answers to all these sub groups too.
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