By Terrance Gavan
A benefit last Saturday night to support Sarah Carlin’s hope for liberation from a confounding disease drew a full house of friends, neighbors and family to McKecks Blue Line.
This is a town with, it seems, an marvelous capacity for empathy, caring, bonhomie and shared moccasins.
On Saturday night a village took great pains to support a comrade. They came to give their support and they came to bestow unconditional love. Jazz Kitchen played a very long first set, accompanied by a vibrant New York, New Yahk, theme. A silent auction was held “uptown” at the back of the local eatery and bar.
Organizers say the benefit raised $xyz for Carlin. Takes a village.
Sarah Carlin’s struggles with multiple sclerosis was beautifully detailed in a recent Highlander feature written by our editor Stephen Patrick. MS is an unkind affliction. It can recede into marvelously disguised remisssion, and then just as suddenly rebound with frightening vengeance.
Carlin, with admirable frankness, told Patrick how MS affects her.
“I have three main things going on: I have stiffness in my hands; the nerve function is confused; and I have a lack of sensation in my fingers, although I can still grip things and write and type. My walking ability is reduced, my co-ordination is off, and I suffer fatigue. Three years ago I could walk any distance I wanted to, and now I can walk two kilometers max – and then my hip just stops working, and I have a problem with co-ordination in my knees and ankles. There’s a lesion in my thoracic spine, and the nerve simply times out.”
“Carlin is seeking treatment in the United States [Albany Medical Clinic]. The controversial “liberation procedure” was developed by Italian researcher Dr. Paolo Zamboni in 2009 and involves MS patients’ having balloon angioplasty in their neck veins,” writes Patrick.
This is a fairly new concept and Zamboni’s procedure is earmarked by fabulous success and dismal failure. But Carlin is committed to moving on with the procedure… so she might be able to move on with her life. It’s not cheap. And it’s not a cure. But for some MS sufferers it has, they say, lessened the severity and symptoms.
“I don’t see any other way of stopping the progress of the disease,” said Carlin. “I’ve been thinking about it since it surfaced in the news. And the evidence I’ve found, although anecdotal, and in talking with other patients who have had the procedure, I’ve been convinced that there are clear benefits to it.”
The procedure is going to cost from $10,000 to $15,000.
Last Saturday Haliburton came out en masse to support a dream.
They are all hoping, with Carlin, that her procedure becomes just another anecdotal checkmark – on the plus side of Zamboni’s growing ledger.