Saturday, 26 March 2011

A Note from Japan

File:Sakura and Moss Pink - 桜(さくら)と芝桜(しばざくら).jpg
Description=Yachounomori Garden, Tatebayashi-shi(city) Gunma-ken(Prefecture), Japan [ 群馬県館林市 野鳥の森ガーデン] |Source=[ Sakura and Moss P)

Wikipedia states: Every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public track the sakura zensen (cherry-blossom front) as it moves northward up the archipelago with the approach of warmer weather via nightly forecasts following the weather segment of news programs. The blossoming begins in Okinawa in January and typically reaches Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March or the beginning of April. The beautiful blossoms are enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. Cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring.

From Eiko Shoji comes the following message to all our IPWSO family:

"Thank you very much for forwarding messages from the IPWSO members to me. I learned that our friends all over the world were praying for us. Certainly their prayers gave us strength, and were answered.

I'm really grateful to you all being so thoughtful and helpful for us this time. I think Japan will still have to go through a difficult time for some time, but it is a great encouragement to know that our friends are always with us."

Eiko also told us that all their "PWS families" are now accounted for and are safe!  We are so happy to know this and we hope the beauty of the blossom can bring hope for new life for Japan.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

To our Japanese Families...

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of our Japanese families.  It is at times like this that families are the most important and precious things we have and we hope yours are all safe.  IPWSO has many friends in Japan and we have met many of you at conferences around the world.  It is devastating to learn of the destruction from the earthquake on Friday 11th March, and the following tsunamis, that has been brought to your beautiful country. 

Many of us live in countries that are earthquake-prone and understand the horrifying and frightening nature of quakes, but those of us who don't, can only imagine what it must have been like for you, and is continuing to be like.  We know the shaky history of Japan and the many earthquakes and tsunamis that have caused thousands of deaths over the years.   We know too, that you are a nation of strong people who have rebuilt over and over again, and that you will do so again.

We stand alongside you...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The geese are flying

The geese are flying in formation across the sky, a sure harbinger of autumnal - or fall - weather, which can only mean that my Northern Hemisphere friends are looking forward to spring and the summer ahead.  I'm not a great winter fan, it feels dreary to me, whereas spring brings renewed enthusiasm and energy.  It's been a good summer here, weather-wise, but not so good for one of the prettiest cities in our country, Christchurch, which was shaken by two very large earthquakes resulting in a loss of over 200 lives and many of her beautiful old iconic buildings brought crumbling to the ground.

It has been amazing to watch the support pour in from all corners of the globe: first from our neighbours, Australia, who downed tools and caught the next plane out to help, then from Japan, Taiwan, USA, Singapore and the UK.  People started fundraising, sending food, tents, clothes, anything that they thought the people of Christchurch would need.  Red and black are the Canterbury/Christchurch colours - a young schoolgirl sent a tweet to all her friends asking them to wear the colours as support.  The tweet went 'feral' and a day was selected so everyone in the country could show their support. 

The people of Christchurch are still shaken by quakes every day.  There are large "no go" areas in the city, thousands of people have lost their homes, and thousands more have fled the area to find temporary and permanent accommodation elsewhere.  But, the spirit of the people does not lie down.  The strength and resolve of everyone to rebuild, to rise again, to get over this disaster, is formidable.  It reminds me of parents and families where there is a child or sibling with PWS.  There are so many knockbacks, some which you think you will never get over, problems which seem insoluable, and times when you just want to lock yourself away and hide.

But the spirit is always there, just beneath the surface ready to rise again.  We take the rough with the smooth, we show resolve and understanding, and, just like those who came to Christchurch's rescue, we have supporters who understand and help us too.  There are email groups, websites, chat-rooms where we can ask for help, where we can ask what may seem trivial questions, and also ask the big ones.   You only have to google "Prader-Willi Syndrome chat groups" to be provided with lists of opportunities to chat. 

The social media of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and email and website groups is something that has grown exponentially over the space of a couple of years.  It helps make our world smaller, more contained, more sociable, and definitely more connected.  There are times when we think the blackest day has come, but we need only reach out into our intergalactic medium to find another's fingertips.  Geese fly wing-tip to wing-tip supporting those who are tired, taking over leadership in turn.  We can surely learn from them now.

Kia kaha.  Stand tall.