It has been a rainy day in Bluffton, so I thought I would share a few wildlife shots that I haven't shared before, as well as some photos that explain this journey a bit. As many of you have just started following this recently, I would also like to explain what I am trying to accomplish on this journey.
This journey actually started two years ago, when a friend, Dr. Les Neville, was in a head on collision just after leaving work. A look at his jeep shows how severe it was - its surprising that he survived at all.
After several weeks in a coma, he started coming out of it. His eyes were open and fixed on the ceiling. The nurses in the surgical trauma unit told me no one could be certain if he was able to see or hear things. So, I printed photos I had taken of places he and I had been on large canvases and taped them to the hospital room ceiling, and took my keyboards in and would sit playing for a few hours late every night.
Over the months that Les was in MUSC, I developed a relationship with a Dr. Rusty Turner, who was director of epilepsy research. At first, I didn't see any relevance between epilepsy and Les's condition, but the relationship with Dr. Turner developed on its own. Meanwhile, Les came out of his coma, but had hit his head in such a manner that his capacity to remember things was wiped out. After six months in the hospital, he was transferred to a nursing home on John's Island SC.
After I got to know Dr. Turner a bit better, he shared with me that he was investigating a new method of treating brain issues. Over the last two years, he has traveled world-wide working with the best in this field, and has left MUSC to open his own clinic. The clinic opened this week in West Ashley with a staff of ten, and Les is going to be one of the first patients.
The medical technique for what Rusty's clinic is specializing in is called Neuro-Therapy. The clinic is geared to work on the research and the education side, as well as seeing patients with a variety of brain issues. Neurotherapy simply takes advantage of the new QEEG technology to map the brain, sees what areas of the brain and what neural networks are not communicating properly, then a program using videos and video games is custom tailored to the individual patient that lures the brain into working properly. Once the brain learns to work properly, it does not give up the new skill - the change is permanent. In the area of epilepsy alone, well over 75 percent of patients that have suffered for a lifetime get relief from their condition. It is really amazing stuff.
The problem with the technique is that it does not require drugs or surgery. That is both its blessing and its biggest obstacle. In this country, most research money is only spent when there is the promise of a new drug and the profits it will bring. With this technique, not only are drugs not used, in many cases the anti-depressant and anti seizure medications that are commonly prescribed become TOXIC to the patient. In other words, as the brain heals our medicines start to do harm rather than heal. Well, in the case of epilepsy alone, there are a couple of million patients who pay upwards of $500 a month for anti-seizure medications that don't cure anything. This is over 2 BILLION dollars - just in epilepsy meds - a year that big pharma rakes in. Understandably, they are not only avoiding helping any research on this technique, I am told they are actively fighting it. Add to this all of the meds this country spends for other brain issues that a solution is emerging for - traumatic brain injury, stroke, ADD, ADHD, migraine headaches - the list goes on.
So, in order for this to become an accepted technique, clinical trials at a reputable institution have to be done. And this brings us back to MUSC. They are regarded as one of the top research facilities in the world when it comes to neurological issues. Successful completion of clinical trials will bring the credibility needed to get insurance companies to cover this procedure. Clinical trials are expensive - millions of dollars are needed. And even as important as clinical trials is the research needed to learn just how many things this technique can help and to establish the best procedures possible to get the desired results.
So, this is where I come in. I have felt moved to set up a large fund-raiser to try to raise the monies necessary. The goal is 18 million dollars. And here is my plan.
I am spending a couple of years traveling around the edges of the United States - taking photographs, shooting video and writing articles. I am sharing all this on this blog, plus am sharing the articles and daily meditations on the sister blog, Capture America. At the end of the set-up journey, my goal is to have 75,000 people who are willing to contribute $ 20 per month for one year - the second and final trip around the perimeter of the country. Only the second time, I will be doing it by bicycle. I will have the contacts I developed all along the way on this first trip, so the daily content should be well thought out and include a lot of fascinating subject matter.
I only have what I have packed in my mini-van, and am working my way slowly around the edges of America. I have shared photographs of many awesome places and written about some fascinating people so far. If you watch the progression, you will be able to watch with me as the plans for the final fund-raising trip emerge.
This first year my goals are modest - but we do need help with a few things. The foundation needs to be established (a 501-C3 named the "More for Less Foundation) so that contributions become tax-deductible. I need the capital to publish a book - the book being the best of the daily meditations I have written over the last five years. We need to establish a good web-site, and better camera and video equipment along with editing software is needed. There is a need for fliers to pass out at churches and other places I can get speaking engagements. My own needs are small - I have been living on about fifty dollars a week, with the biggest expense being gasoline.
If you can help with any of these items I would be most grateful. All of this can be done for $ 20,000, which is my goal for the next three months. If you can help me toward this goal, I will send you a hand-signed meditation book when it is published and your choice of your favorite photo from this first year's trip. If you can contribute a lump sum toward this, that would be appreciated. But you also have an option to contribute a small amount monthly - $10 or $20 a month makes a big difference. If you can help me with this, just Click Here - and if you want to make the contribution monthly just check the box that says "recurring."
Together, we can do this - the difference we can make for those suffering from neurological problems in this country alone is huge - let alone what can be done for the rest of the world. And with this effort, you will see and read about the difference your help is making immediately.
Thanks to all of you - and have a great Sunday !!
I welcome feedback - if you have any ideas or suggestions on people I should meet or places I should visit along the way, please email me by Clicking Here.