I don't give thanks anywhere near as often as I should that all my children and grandchildren are fit, healthy individuals. This was brought home to me yesterday afternoon when I was talking to a woman, a single mother of five children. But I really should start at the beginning.
Some years ago I was lucky enough to win a trip to the Lions Clubs' international convention in Detroit. Staying in the same hotel as me was a fairly large party from Freedom District Lions Club. I already knew one couple, and it was good to meet up with Kent and Liz again. The rest of the party took me under their wing and suggested that I should consider myself an honorary member of Freedom Lions for the week of the convention. Later, the club suggested twinning with my club, the proposal being accepted by Brighton Lions. After a while I became concerned that twinning should involve more than just an exchange of newsletters and, perhaps, an occasional visit, and I gave some thought to the possibility of some sort of joint service project. I recalled how at one time there was a scheme to send picture postcards to severely disabled and life-limited children around the world and after some to-ing and fro-ing between the clubs, it was arranged that Brighton should ‘adopt' a child in the Maryland to whom we would send letters, postcards, birthday cards etc. Freedom would likewise ‘adopt' an English child.
I don't know how Freedom Lions discovered Joe, a 12-year-old suffering from cerebral palsy. We used our Leo House connection and the nurses came up with a 15-year-old boy with MeCP2 duplication. This is a very rare life-limiting chromosome disorder with only nine cases known in Europe. I telephoned Alex's mother yesterday and she was telling me that, as well as Alex, she has four daughters, three of whom are carriers. It struck me very forcibly then just how fortunate I am.