World Lymphedema Day Is Proclaimed in Coronado - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

World Lymphedema Day Is Proclaimed in Coronado

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Posted: Monday, March 11, 2019 2:47 pm

What is Lymphedema you might be asking? So many people have never heard of it. I certainly hadn’t until my leg started to unexpectedly swell shortly after I finished my treatment for cervical cancer.

Lymphedema is a disease that affects up to 10 million Americans and 170 million people worldwide. It can be hereditary or acquired as a result of cancer treatment or physical trauma. An estimated 30 percent of breast cancer survivors will develop this debilitating disease that results in the accumulation of lymph fluid in the limbs when the lymphatic system is damaged. Similarly, survivors of prostate and ovarian cancers and melanoma are very susceptible. Our veterans suffer from this as a result of battle injury or trauma from surgery. Additionally, the National Institute of Health estimates that at least 1 in 300 children are born with this disease. The effects of lymphedema are life long, it drastically affects one’s quality of life, and can lead to shorten lifespan. Currently, there is no cure.

In 2016, Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) was able to get bi-partisan support and co-sponsorship from U.S. Senator Grassley (R) and Senator Schumer (D) to establish World Lymphedema Day on March 6. It was approved by the U.S. Senate unanimously. The event was and still is celebrated worldwide and resolutions were also passed in the State Houses to recognize this day. However, it is essential that we bring this recognition into our local communities.

With the generous help of Mayor Bailey and the city council, the City of Coronado proclaimed March 6 as World Lymphedema Day, helping spread awareness about this disease. The city council formally presented the proclamation at the monthly city council meeting on March 5, 2019. Our cities proclamation was joined by San Diego, Pleasanton, and San Jose, and with the help of Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D), the State of California.

After I learned that the swelling in my leg was lymphedema, I listened to academy award winning actress Ms. Kathy Bates, a breast and ovarian cancer survivor, speak passionately about her struggles with lymphedema; I knew I had to do something too. Her words echoed in my head “to win the fight you must first join the fight”. So please, join us. Let your voice be heard.

If you are interested in more information about lymphedema and LE&RN, please go to www.lymphaticnetwork.org or contact me at barb.calern@gmail.com .

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