So, one of my dearest friends, Charlotte, is dying of cancer. Her doctors are not promising her any more birthdays, so I've decided to give her mine: September 29.
Instead of sending me a gift, let's give Charlotte something?
When I got the news from Charlotte I didn't know what to do. We were going to need to have something positive and meaningful to channel our distress. The result is Charlotte's Helix, a somewhat crazy bet that we could raise enough money and volunteers to bring the AN25K challenge to Charlotte's country: the UK. It is a project that matters to her and to many of us and holds the promise of changing the future for families facing eating disorders and, really, for all mental health.
Some amazing scientists and researchers in the US and UK are working to make this happen. Advocacy organizations in the UK and US have offered to help with getting the funds where they need to be.
So, it is up to us: all of Charlotte's friends and family and their friends and family around the world to change the course of medical history in Charlotte's name. If you don't know Charlotte, you probably know someone who does: she's like that. If you don't, you should. Visit the Helix to get to know her.
Instead of a present, what is needed is a donation of any amount in any currency to Charlotte's Helix. If you have $5, we need it. If you can spare £1000: you have just paid for 10 DNA samples and become part of scientific history. Want to donate more: you can have a few more of my birthdays as a bonus.
This year instead of "liking" me on Facebook, like the Charlotte's Helix page. And "share" it. And forward it and link it and blog it and tweet it and make sure the world sees it. Make the Helix go viral.
Don't call me on my birthday: call and get information on enrolling in a study in your country, or call a journalist to tell them about this project. Make the Helix matter.
Instead of sending me a birthday greeting send YOUR birthday to Charlotte, too. Support her by becoming part of the Helix coalition. Contact me and we'll find a way.
I'm angry at hell at cancer at the moment. I'm hopeful as can be about the prospects for curing eating disorders with the help of good research. I've resolved to cry less and laugh more because if Charlotte can talk about the "the upsides of dying young" the least any of us can do is try to make this one dream come true NOW.