Thursday, January 3, 2013

Silver Ribbon Campaign For the Brain

In 1998 on an October night my Mother, Margaret Ray, became the first punch line in Mental Illness.  When she committed suicide, she made the front page of the NYT, my name was also printed in the story and as a result, she chose my career as a Mental Health Advocate.

Throughout my childhood my mother suffered from a brain disease that made her progressively sicker. Her psychosis and brain damage from chronic illness led her to believe that she was in a romantic relationship with a late night talk show host. Her name became a joke about stalking (http://investigation.discovery.com/investigation/crime-countdowns/stalkers/stalkers-05.html). It should have been a statement about our inability to get care for a brilliant, beautiful mother.

After my mother died, my family founded The Margaret Ray Memorial Foundation. My Grandmother and I both worked on legislation and every level of advocacy over the last 15 years to change the way that Mental Illness is treated in the US.

At every opportunity we give silver pins that have a sticker stating "compliments of the Margaret Ray Memorial Foundation" we have distributed hundreds if not thousands of silver pins.

The Silver Ribbon Campaign is for all brain diseases: Autism, Mental Illness, Alzheimer, and the tragic brain tumors that sneak up and strike down adults in their prime. Included in research for the brain is also epilepsy, stroke, and the illness that plagues me: migraines.

So I wear a Silver Ribbon for many people, a dear friend who died of a brain tumor, many mothers who struggle to raise children with Autism or Mental Illness, my mother and myself.

This year I am going to set up a separate site to continue my work in Mental Health Advocacy under the name Margaret Ray Memorial Foundation. If you re interested in Mental Health issues please follow my work there. In the last decade everything about our Mental Health Policy has changed.

Most states have Assisted Outpatient Treatment (I worked for Treatment Advocacy Center when they were writing the model AOT law) the new Affordable Care Act will cover services for all brain diseases equally. Now is the best time in history to have a brain disease.

The work is not done. We all need to wear a silver ribbon. I wear one everyday. If you would like one, please contact me, NARSAD, NAMI, The Margaret Ray Foundation (me) or make your own.

Happy New Year.

Cheers,
ALJ

2 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing my mother was one of the hardest things I've had to endure. Now my little granddaughter, Lily, has epilepsy. She is only 5. She's been on 14 meds since she started having seizures at 18mos. Now she is a possible candidate for brain surgery. I will get my sivler ribbon.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. All diseases above the neck are still such a mystery. I hope that we are entering a time when medicine will finally be able to answer some of these mysteries and help many.

      Good luck with your granddaughter.

      Cheers,
      Anna-Lisa

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