By Jordan Prochnow
When my brother Jackson was born, I was his first visitor in the hospital. Before my stepmom was out of the delivery room I was there, a candy cane Blizzard from Dairy Queen in my hand, excited to meet my first sibling. I was ten years old and had been waiting for a brother or sister my entire life and now he was here.
The Children’s Tumor Foundation launched in 1978 as the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation (NNFF), established by NF patient Lynne Courtemanche, RN, her doctor Allan E. Rubenstein, MD, and attorney Joel S. Hirschtritt, Esq. A young child at the time, Ken Rudd’s mom, Joan Engel, was President of the Foundation from 1981 through 1984. Ken is now a member of CTF’s Board of Directors.
As we celebrate 40 years of driving research, expanding knowledge, and advancing care for the NF community, we asked Ken to reflect on the early days of the Foundation, how the community has grown, and the progress made in NF research for treatments and a cure.
I was 16 when I began to have hearing issues. After getting my hearing tested, the results revealed profound hearing loss in my right ear. The hearing test lead to an MRI and then to my diagnosis of NF2.
For me, the physical pain that comes with NF pales in comparison to the mental weight the disease carries.
Zoe Comiskey is 16 years old and lives with NF1. She is currently working on her Girl Scout Gold Award. She developed her project in conjunction with her doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Zoe will be meeting with newly diagnosed patients and their families to share her story and help them feel better about this new world they’ve now entered.
Colin was 6 years old when he was diagnosed with NF1. Colin is now 10 and is a diehard NY Jets and Michigan Wolverine fan. When he is not outside playing with his friends, you can usually catch him playing Madden 18 on the X-box. He is also a thrill seeker and will go on just about any ride out there. Colin does have to have annual MRIs and eye exams to monitor developing tumors, but luckily, he continues to live a normal child's life, playing baseball, swimming, and spending time with his friends.