I wish the story I am about to share with you wasn't true but it is. It is about the pain of a parent.
The pain of a parent is not when you hurt. It is when your child hurts and you are helpless to do anything about it.
Let me tell you the story...
Imagine you are mom and dad, bringing your first baby, a beautiful girl name Lauren, home from the hospital. Then, at seven months, your baby starts having seizures.
Ten, fifteen, as many as 25 seizures a day.
You turn to the doctors, of course, but they tell you there is nothing they can do. Nothing. And the seizures never stop.
And every dawn, every day, every night, for the next 20 years, that is your life.
There is a disease in this country that takes as many lives each year as breast cancer. It affects more Americans than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.
That disease is epilepsy, a disease we talk too little about. It's a killer that is too often out of sight and out of mind.
Whether you or I would have the strength to endure this journey, I do not know. But for decades, Susan and David Axelrod have.
This is their story. In Washington, we often think of people only as political adversaries or allies. Susan and David are not only my friends, they are wonderful, graceful parents. And they are a constant reminder of what all of us have in common and what any of us would do for our child.
I can't imagine watching my child suffer those seizures, each one threatening their survival, each one stripping my child of a little more of his or her abilities.
But some people are stronger than I am. Some people have bigger engines for hearts.
Susan Axelrod said the world didn't have to be this way. She rose from her sorrow and brought together a little group of people around her kitchen table. She brought them together, not just for her child but for others.
Today the organization Susan founded around her kitchen table, CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, is one of the most powerful forces pushing to find treatment and a cure. It's parents pushing research and it has transformed the way epilepsy is treated.
Susan and David's little girl is a grown woman now. She hasn't had a seizure in over a dozen years, thanks to research that resulted in a new medication.
But many parents and children with epilepsy are still waiting.
They are waiting for us.
We need to find a cure, which is why I am asking you to help me slash my mustache.
As I'm sure you've heard, David pledged to shave the prized possession that has inhabited his upper lip for over 40 years, IF he could raise $1 million dollars for CURE. He shaved his 'stache on Morning Joe. David's upper lip is now entirely, 100 percent nude. Actually, he looks quite nice.
Foolishly, however, in an unguarded moment, I pledged to David that I would pick up the torch, or razor, in this case, and slash my mustache, too, IF we could find another 500 contributions for CURE by the end of the year. What was I thinking!?
I am hoping you can be one of them.
Will you please go to slashthestache.com right now and contribute $100, $1000, or $10,000 or more?
Everyone comes to Washington to change the world. We all want to do something that matters. My friend, this is one of those rare opportunities to do something that matters in the life of desperate parents, dreaming of a cure for their child.
Eighty-three percent of the money CURE raises goes directly to laboratories for research. It goes to young, fresh, bright researchers, doing out of the box work to find a cure and relief for those ravaged by epilepsy.
For Republicans, this is what we believe in, a chance to help individual-to-individual. For Democrats, this is an opportunity to strip a Republican of one of his prized possessions and redistribute my facial follicles: Sunlight has not touched my upper lip since I was 17, forty-one years ago. That's a long time.
If you will be one of those 500 contributions, Wolf Blizter and my friends at CNN have promised to shear me live, on the Situation Room, the beginning of the year.
Can you do it? Will you? Please go to slashthestache.com and make your contribution. And please forward this post to four or five other people you think might help... or who just want to rid the world of similar 'staches.
My barren lip, if it still functions, will thank you. But your greatest reward will be the difference you've made. This holiday season, please do what you can for CURE.
P.S. Let me give you the website again: slashthestache.com. Please go there now and contribute without fear that you are stripping a Cuban guy of his mustache. I still have my cigars.
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