I’m Pam Nadeau, and I’m the mother of three children. They all have CFS.
I know the helpless feeling of having a child sick with an illness that has no cure. But for all three kids to face that same struggle? It’s unimaginable. And yet we do our best to manage.
My family is sharing its story for one reason—to inspire people like you in the CFS community to “pay it forward” so parents of other children won’t have to know this pain.
That’s why my husband, Rich, and I are urging everyone to join us in supporting the CFIDS Association of America’s Campaign to Accelerate CFS Research. We think it’s the best way to find a cure for our children.
Like most mothers, I couldn’t be prouder of my kids. My remarkable son, Drew, got sick first. He was only 10 years old. For months we thought he had the flu. Eventually he was unable to go to school or do much of anything outside his room. That was 12 years ago.
Drew has been able to continue school at home despite his physical limitations, but he has been bedridden over half his life now. He’s been able to find a passion in photography through his bedroom window and fills his days with music.
Adrienne, now 24, is the poet in our family. Despite overwhelming odds and erratic energy levels, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tampa. She got sick when she was 14, and since then every decision has involved a compromise. If she writes a paper today, will she spend all day in pain tomorrow? It's a sad art to master. She has good weeks and then inexplicably bad weeks when she’s disabled and homebound.
And then there’s beautiful, gifted Ellen, now 17. She was an A student, excelling in advanced classes when she was finally diagnosed with CFS in seventh grade. She has juggled her courses as best she can, but is now studying through a hospital-homebound program again. She loves musical performance, but has had to put it on the back burner. College will take every ounce of energy she can muster, but she’s determined to try.
What has CFS taught the Nadeaus? We’ve learned how strong we are; we know as a family we can deal with anything. Adrienne quotes Mother Teresa: “God will never give me more than I can bear. I just wish He didn’t have so much faith in me.”
My children have had to put their dreams on hold, but CFS doesn’t have to rob them of their lives indefinitely. Research can lead to a cure, which means a chance for my children to experience all the things I dream for them.
All they want is a chance to show the world who they are. A chance to be anyone they want to be.
On behalf of my children—and every child who faces this devastating illness—please make a research gift to the CFIDS Association of America today. Here’s a great incentive to give now: Every dollar you donate online through this appeal will be matched by the WWW Foundation, a private, LA-area independent foundation. That means a $25 gift will be doubled to $50 automatically. A gift of $500 becomes $1,000!
CFS has robbed too many mothers’ children of too much already. With your help we can speed up the investigation to find answers now!
On behalf of everyone—young and old—who struggles with CFS every day, the Nadeau family sincerely thanks you.
Learn more about the CFIDS Association’s Campaign to Accelerate CFS Research.