Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day (MSAD) is important to me for many reasons. The first, and foremost, reason is my beautiful little niece, Dakotah. She was born in October, 2008. Like many of the other families, we learned of a new syndrome that day that very few had ever heard of. I remember the call from my sister, Stacey, telling me Dakotah was born and that something was wrong. (Dakotah was fortunate enough to be born in a hospital with a doctor that was aware of Moebius Syndrome, so she was diagnosed within 24 hours) To better understand what Moebius Syndrome was, I searched the internet and found minimal information about it. Thankfully, I found the Many Faces of Moebius Syndrome and Moebius Syndrome Foundation websites. The websites have brought many families together through love, support and sharing of personal knowledge and experiences, however, with very little information available to families otherwise this day is important, and much needed, to give a voice to the syndrome and the families who live it each and every day. My hope is that Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day will bring awareness and understanding every day. My hope is that Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day will bring awareness and understanding to those around them, and within the medical community as well.
- Andrea (Sweetwood Smith, Denver Colorado -
I was born in the Dark Ages ..1948.. with a disorder that I found out much later as an adult.. actually had a name ...Moebius Syndrome. So the greater part of my life has been spent totally UN-WARE of what Moebius Syndrome means to anyone...especially to me! Then in 2010 with a great deal of support .. I was fortunate enough to attend my first Conference in Denver. I finally realized "my Moebius" is shared by many others AND I was no longer alone! Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day .. as every new day is for me now .. a chance to share more of myself and that "awareness" with others.
- Alice Goeldner, Nekoosa, Wisconsin -
To me Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day (MSAD) provides an opportunity for my friends and associates to have one of those AHA moments. You know the ‘aha’ feeling when your first science experiment works, when you first see a mother cat give birth to kittens, or when you get the first kiss by a member of the opposite sex not a relative (unless you’re from Arkansas I want others to begin their AHA moment with Awareness; understanding what Moebius Syndrome is all about; its different manifestations, and being aware that by and large most Moebius folks are normal in all other respects. Next I want them to move to Honesty – honestly recognizing the worth of each individual and honestly believing that, "Except by God’s Grace go I."It’s only through awareness and an honest appraisal that others can then move on to full Acceptance of those of us with Moebius Syndrome. I pray as we approach MSAD 2012, we’ll all strive to bring one of those AHA moments to those we know and/or influence. God bless!
- David Moffitt, Forth Worth, Texas -
The media have made a number of illnesses well known to the public such as cancer, mental health illnesses like Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia and that is just to name a few. Though in most cases Moebius Syndrome isn't life threatening it is still a syndrome that affects people all around the world emotionally and physically.
Every day people usually have no clue what Moebius Syndrome is, so sufferers with severe facial paralysis sometimes will get looked at strangely while innocently walking down the street, going about their day. Often teenagers in high school will get bullied because having Moebius Syndrome makes them look different from others. This can have a serious affect on people, making them feel even more anxious about their appearance. It is hard enough having to wake up everyday knowing there is no cure to this syndrome; they don’t need someone constantly reminding them of that.
Sometimes moments of sadness just hit people when they remember they will never be able to smile, they will never be able to show facial expressions such as happiness or sadness. It is hard when others don’t understand the syndrome; they might assume a sufferer is moody or unfriendly by the appearance of their face when this is not the case. Most of the time it is really hard to let people in because it can be awkward breaking the ice, not knowing quite how to explain yourself to other people so that they can get a better understanding of the syndrome. And when you do explain yourself to someone you have to explain yourself to someone else and this can be tiring.
Having a Moebius Syndrome Awareness day will benefit the public so much, its not a common syndrome so putting it out there to the world will just make people with the syndromes life a little easier. That way the world is educated and familiar with it and hopefully they will be able to recognise someone with Moebius Syndrome. Hopefully they will be able to realise that people with Moebius Syndrome and perfectly intelligent and intellectual, and that they lead normal lives. This will also benefit Doctors who will be able to diagnose new born babies and infants quicker.
Having an awareness day will also be great for people with the syndrome who are unaware that there is a Moebius Syndrome website and group on Facebook that they can go to if they need some support. This can be a very positive experience as they can interact and meet up with others with the syndrome; this can help people feel less isolated. Finally the more people that know about the syndrome the better it will be to find what causes Moebius Syndrome as this has been yet to be discovered.
- Loriana Sofia Firth, Enfield, Enfield, United Kingdom -
I was surprised by how much Jasper got out of MSAD. As a confident, bright and outgoing kid I have always felt that he just took the condition in his stride. Whilst I believe in spreading awareness, i never realized the impact having a MSAD would have on Jasper personally. The pride in his face from being the MFMS poster boy for the day was incredible- it dawned on me then that MSAD was important for him because it gave him the opportunity to celebrate who he is BECAUSE of meobius syndrome not despite it. I have always tried to ensure that Jasper never feels as though he is deficient or that he needs 'fixing', MSAD helped to consolidate this.
- Lauren Broadhurst, Australia -
A few months ago I was watching an old episode of ER where a young boy with Down Syndrome is brought into the emergency room. Immediately the TV doctor makes a decision on how his patient should be treated after considering a few risk factors involved in having Down Syndrome. This is exactly why I think there should be a Moebius Syndrome Awareness day. It's mostly likely that if the situation were real the doctor wouldn't even know what Moebius Syndrome is, never mind knowing how to treat someone with it. I believe not only could a Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day teach doctors how to treat those with Moebius medically, it would teach others how to treat those affected by Moebius socially as well.
- Gavin Fouche / Cape Town, South Africa -
The 1st Annual Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day was an invaluable day for our family. When our son was diagnosed, only our neurologist had heard of Moebius Syndrome. I believe that with the HUGE effort of the entire Moebius Syndrome community, MSAD allowed us to educate countless people across the world, including our family and friends that were unaware of exactly what Zayden’s diagnosis meant. The outpouring of coverage from news outlets and the support from complete strangers was overwhelming and made me proud to be a part of such a monumental day. Our family is looking forward to helping to MSAD an even bigger success this year.
- Jen Wise, Treverton, Pa -
Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day can best be described as a huge gift to those who have longed for more information and respect. Parents, relatives, friends and fellow Moebians made MSAD 2011 a huge success through their hard work and creativity. Their efforts piqued public interest, including the media. It doesn’t have to stop there. Let’s make January 24, 2012 known throughout the world so parents and health care providers can make informed decisions when a diagnosis of Moebius Syndrome is made.
- Holly Williams, Princeton, Kentucky -