2017 Bowl for Scleroderma - Thelma's Silent Words
Bowl for Scleroderma – Thelma’s Silent Words is a bowling fundraiser for the Scleroderma Foundation Ohio Chapter. The event features two games of bowling and a silent auction. The event has a sports-related theme and many of the auction items are sports memorabilia. Advertising and marketing for the event occurs via social media, past participation and word of mouth. Registration takes place up until and including the day of the event. (Day-of-event registration in person only. Online registration closes on 9/22/17.) See attached flyer for additional details.
A Letter from the Organizer
Dear Friends and Family,
In 2002, my mother, Thelma, was paying us a visit. During her stay, she complained about stiffness and weakness in her appendages. She dropped a few plates and bowls while preparing dinner, but we both jokingly overlooked these symptoms as old age. Little did we know that just a couple months later at a routine physical, the doctor would tell my mom that she had a rare disease called Scleroderma and that this disease was attacking her body in an atypical manner – targeting the skin first and then the nervous system.
As a family, we were rocked from our foundation by this news. We quickly read every article and medical journal that we could find on the internet about Scleroderma. Even with treatment and preventative maintenance, nothing improved my mother’s condition. Her skin rapidly became hard to the touch and discolored. Not only was her quality of life affected, but also her confidence. But despite this, even amidst the 1 ½ years of lung treatments, steroids, occupational therapy, discomfort, and bouts of depression, my mother continued to laugh, give love to her kids and grandkids, and create memories through great conversations.
In December of 2004 my sister called me hysterical. Our mother had taken an afternoon nap and could not be awakened. I got on the first flight to New Jersey to be by her side. Nothing in my life could have ever prepared me to see my first teacher and my first love confined to a hospital bed, unable to move or speak. The emergency tracheotomy she had received upon her arrival limited our communication to hand written notes on a small white board. That afternoon of passing notes was the last time I communicated with my mother. Kidney failure and decreasing lung capacity had started shutting down her body. The physicians were optimistic that she would recover with minor procedures, but they were wrong.
At 7:25 on Christmas morning, I was awakened by a phone call from a physician at the hospital. He told me that my mother had gone into cardiac arrest and that her internal organs were completely hardened. Then he asked that dreaded question, “Do you want me to keep your mother on life support?” My family immediately gathered together at the hospital. Over the next 2 ½ hours, my mother went into her second cardiac arrest and with my family’s support, I instructed the physician to remove my mother from life support. She was gone.
That morning, before I was awakened by the doctor, I was dreaming of my mother. I was sitting in her hospital room where she was up and walking around, looking out her window, and sometimes talking to me. Her words were not audible, yet I completely understood the silence. “Everything is going to be ok. My job is complete here and it’s time for me to go home.” As my mother delivered her final message to me, she turned towards the window and instantaneously, my phone rang. When I picked up the phone, I knew as the physician started talking that she was gone, but because of my mother’s silent words, I knew everything was going to be ok.
There is currently no cure for Scleroderma, but with enough people pulling together, there is hope. In honor of my mother, please join me for a day of not only raising money, but of raising awareness and showing support for all of the families affected by Scleroderma at Beaver Vu Bowl, Beavercreek, OH, September 23, 2017, 2 PM – 4 PM. Please see flyer for additional information on the benefit and feel free to contact me at any time to register your team or if you have any questions!