Monday, September 10, 2018

Case Study #54 - Gail Golfing the Course

Prep Sketch for "Gail Golfing the Course"
Gail is a 57-year-old, 2nd generation, individual with Neurofibromatosis, NF1. She was born with a large tumor on the left side of her chest. The doctors did not know this growth was NF until she started puberty and more small bumps started growing on her body. When she was 20 years old, Gail had an NF tumor on her chest removed that measured approximately 9 by 12 inches. She almost did not survive the surgery due to blood loss. However, she was determined to live. Because she survived, Gail saw this as “her calling” and an opportunity to spread awareness of NF.

Throughout the years, Gail was teased, bullied and ostracized due to her physical appearance. Besides the stares and name calling, she was asked not to swim in public pools, not to touch fruit at the market and people would refuse to sit next to her. Many people thought her condition was contagious. Gail took these situations as an opportunity to let these individuals know about NF.

Gail has had close to 40 surgeries over the years, removing bumps/tumors that are creating pain or difficulty for her. However, this has not slowed her down, as she has played many different sports over her life span, and continues to this day, including swimming in pools. She has 2 university degrees in both sociology /pyschology and social work and has spent over 31 years working as a social worker.

Gail has been very fortunate to have some amazing and loving friends and family that have accepted her for the way she is. She got married when she was 53 years to a man who also has NF.
Gail says, “when I look in the mirror, I don’t see NF, I only see my big bright smile and my mischievous eyes looking back at me.” Gail wants everyone to know that individuals that are affected by NF are just regular people. They have hopes and dreams. They eat, drink, sleep, laugh and cry, just like everyone else.

Gail has actively participated with the Alberta NF support group. Assisting individuals living with this condition and letting them know they are not alone. Gail is on the Alberta Tumour Foundation Board which supports and assists individuals and their families, as well as to educate others.

1 comment:

Nora Bruemmer said...

Good for you Gail....You're an inspiration to others, a wonderful example of a person living with NF. Thank you.