ONCE UPON A GENE - EPISODE 152
A Rare Collection - Underestimated
There's power in storytelling- for the listener and the storyteller. A Rare Collection is a monthly series featuring people from the rare disease community, sharing a story with a common theme.
Ryan Sheedy, Dad to Reynolds
When I think about the word underestimate, I think about an underdog. As a kid my favorite movie was Rudy, the story of Daniel Ruettiger, a young man determined to play football for the University of Notre Dame. Rudy was too small, didn't have the grades to go to college and he was dyslexic. Now that I'm a dad, I love this movie even more because my son Reynolds is a real-life Rudy. He was diagnosed with an ultra rare disease called Costello Syndrome at 18 months old. Reynolds has spent 103 days in the hospital, has undergone countless surgeries, his medical team consists of 30 doctors and with an ultra rare disease, he is incredibly complex and medically fragile. Reynolds never quits, he inspires many and reminds me to never underestimate the power of determination.
Stephen Hager, Dad to Emma
When we were pregnant with our daughter, we underestimated how she would completely define who I was. When a neurologist explained her condition to us and said she would only live a few more months, we underestimated how resilient she would be. We underestimated the bureaucratic red tape we would encounter to get equipment and services. When we got services, we underestimated how draining it would be to take her to therapy five days a week. I underestimated how hard this life would be and how often I would need support. I also underestimated how readily people would offer support.
Christopher Andrade, Dad to Logan
My wife Katie and I are raising three children. I always knew I wanted children, but underestimated how much I would love them. I love my children fiercely. Logan was diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome at a year old. Regardless of his condition, he was still my perfect son and nothing would change that. It was a struggle to get through the six months after Logan's diagnosis. I underestimated how painful it would be to be a parent. I remember the day the oncologist told us our son had cancer. I underestimated how painful it is to watch our children hurt and struggle, enduring things they shouldn't have to. It was brutally hard. When it came to his heart surgery, I underestimated what it would be like to see him after and the journey to recovery. When I started advocating online, I underestimated the toll it would take on me.
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September 15, 2022