Solitary Purple Flower Braving the Snow at Sunset


Resilience (re’-zil-ee-ens) [noun]

The ability to withstand, overcome or recover from a challenge or hardship. Elasticity. Toughness. Determination.

NMO and related illnesses can be thieves. They can rob us of health of course—but they can also steal self-esteem, relationships, purpose and time. They can steal from patients, families, loved ones and all of us. But these illnesses can only steal these elements in life if we allow them to.

No illness—no setback—no challenge
can make you feel inferior or disabled
without your permission.

Research data teach us that humans learn more from setbacks than they do from successes. In fact, most successful people have had significant adversity in their lives—and overcame it. The secret to resilience is to find ways to learn from challenges and turn setbacks into strengths.

We all face health adversity—
resilience is thriving
despite these challenges.

Abraham Lincoln overcame
malaria and clinical depression.

Robin Roberts overcame
breast cancer.

Franklin Roosevelt overcame
paralysis due to polio.

Lady Gaga overcame
post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Stephen Hawking overcame
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Andrea Boccelli overcame
complete blindness in early life.

Montel Williams overcame
multiple sclerosis (MS).

You overcame
NMO or a related illness.

Ways to Reclaim Your Life from NMO

✅ Embrace Adversity as Evidence of Living

Look at the ding in your new car door. Look at the crack in your favorite vase. Look at the chip in your kitchen floor tile. To some people, these kinds of imperfections are seen as flaws—even failures. But through the lens of resilience, these are evidence of living. Experience-o-meters. The ding in the car door is a reminder of the great day you spent at the ball park with your family. The crack in the vase only occurred because you were using it to display flowers from a loved one. The chip in the tile is living proof of the warm memories you have of friends & family around the meal table. A similar perspective also applies for NMO or any disease diagnosis. For example, most autoimmune diseases occur with greater frequency in women because the immune system in females is designed for a possibility of carrying a child. NMO is not your fault—it is something that happened in the course of living your life. Embrace the challenge as proof that we are not here to merely survive—we are here to fully live.

We are not here to merely survive—
We are here to fully live.

A diagnosis of NMO or like illness can feel like it brings your world to a halt—that everything you knew or hoped or planned for suddenly no longer applies. It can be a life-changing moment. But it does not have to be a change for the worse. We all face unforeseen events and challenges in our lives that call us to answer a simple but profound question: how will I respond?

Adapting to treatment and recovery may take time. But the experience can also reveal many positive aspects of living that had been unnoticed or under-appreciated prior. One key is this: adapt as best you can at that moment—and keep moving forward to new moments. GJCF continues to accelerate discoveries to turn science into cures, and breakthroughs are coming faster and faster. Each day forward is one day closer to a cure.

GJCF is moving forward at the speed of life.

✅ Empower Yourself with Credible Information

We have made so much progress so quickly that it can be hard to keep all the latest information up to date. That is a good problem to have. A more troublesome problem is that information on the internet or social media is often factually incorrect or unrealistically focused on worst-case scenarios. The fact is there have been many amazing advances in rapid and accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of NMO and like illnesses that offer a very promising future for most patients. In the last 15 years, GJCF has led a revolution in NMO and the field of neurology. Together with expert clinicians and researchers from around the world, we have improved speed and accuracy of diagnosis that has allowed more rapid and effective treatments. In turn, this helps enhance recovery & prevent long-term disability. Laboratory and imaging test results are constantly improving, and new treatments to permanently cure these diseases are now on the horizon. Today, there is more research than ever focused on understanding the causes of these illnesses and finding better ways to stop them—once and for all. From these perspectives, there has never been greater reason for optimism for patients & loved ones facing NMO. The GJCF website Research Radar is a good place to keep pace.

✅ Be Part of Clinical Research and Clinical Trials

Patients and caregivers facing a rare disease also have a rare opportunity to teach the world about secrets to understanding and solving NMO and related diseases. How ? Being rare is the exception that proves the rule. More than any common disease, each person with a rare disease stands to make a huge impact in science & medicine that can help others. For example, only 600 patients participated in the five clinical trials that led to four approved therapies for NMO. In other words, a small number of patient heroes opened the door to treatments that are now saving and improving lives for hundreds of thousands of patients around the world. Whether positive or negative, every outcome advances knowledge.

You are the cure.

✅ Be There for Others on the Same Journey

There is a real difference between sympathy and empathy. Consider this example. Two people are walking down a highway and find a person who has fallen into a deep hole and cannot get out on their own. One person looks into the hole and says “I am sorry that you have fallen into the hole”. Sympathy. The other person looks into the hole and says “I will help you and together we will find a way to get you out of the hole”. Empathy.

When one of us has NMO—
We all have NMO.

Individuals facing NMO often experience becoming closer to family and friends through recognizing how much people care about them. Spirits can glow in ways that might not have otherwise. Purpose and meaning in each day can be used to gain strength physically and emotionally.

✅ Actively Participate to Make a Difference

Active participation can be a great way to find your resilience. Some people find expressing their thoughts or feelings through art enhances their wellness. The GJCF Artistry iNMOtion Program offers interactive workshops in which attendees are guided by certified art therapists to mindful self-expression. Others may find that journaling or constructive blogging or sharing optimism through community service give them a sense of resilience in contributing to the greater good. Discover a skill or ability or inner voice you did not know you had until NMO entered your life. Whatever your medium, you are a meaningful and rare partner on the road to cures.

Every patient is a person first.
Tell Your Own Story of Your Journey

Every person facing NMO or like illness has a unique and valuable journey. Expressing yourself can be therapeutic, and the fact that only you can tell your personal experience makes you rare among rare. The question is how will you tell your own story ? The GJCF advocacy team offers a number of ways for you to tell your story—and in doing so help the next person who learns of their diagnosis with NMO and related diseases. The NMO Stories program is a perfect venue for you to share your thoughts in a way that may help many others. You may also find new friends and hear stories of other people facing the same diagnosis that help you. Let us make sure the world knows about each life affected by NMO and how everyone can contribute to the cure.

Adapt as best you can at that moment—
and keep moving forward to new moments.

✅ Acknowledge Change and Adaptation

Resilience is the ability to adapt to new circumstances in ways that preserve or even enhance ability, outlook, purpose and meaning in life. In recent studies of experience and quality of life patients and caregivers facing NMO, we made the poignant discovery that offers hope and proof that resilience can be as life-enhancing as any medicine. Resilience is also important for family members of patients and beyond. Everyone benefits when we put people first and focus together on resilience. Let us focus on the person—not just treat the disease.

We study disability.
We promote resilience.

✅ Become a Fund Raiser to Help GJCF Find Cures

It was once said that NMO is “the little disease the could…”. With your help and dedication, NMO has become the little disease that did save and improve lives around the world. It is now seen as a model for solutions for other diseases—rare and not so rare. Whether other autoimmune diseases, other immunological illnesses, or even cancer, the learnings we have made in NMO shine new lights on ways to solve many diseases. If you have ever known someone with an autoimmune disease, cancer, an organ transplant or other immune-related illness, our work together in NMO is helping them as well. And breakthroughs in immune tolerization that hold great promise to cure these diseases are gaining momentum. GJCF offers hope and gratitude to all those who have given so much of their energy and effort to help everyone facing these diseases. If you feel this story deserves to be told—then spread the word far and wide. Any contribution to the GJCF mission for cures is sincerely appreciated.

With hope and gratitude—
We are Cureageous.™

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Fast Facts about NMOSD