03 June 2008

A fitting tribute to Lorenzo Odone

I don’t usually bother with columnists or leaders but this one in today’s Guardian is a fitting tribute to Lorenzo Odone, a man who defied medical expectations and lived for over two decades after being diagnosed with an awful genetic condition. Moreover it is a tribute to a mother and father who devoted their lives not only to his care but the search for a cure. In the latter they were not successful but Lorenzo’s Oil does help prevent the onset of the condition. Here’s to the power of love.

“A kind of life came to an end last week, when Lorenzo Odone died the day after he turned 30. It was a peculiar life because, since childhood, Lorenzo had been ravaged by adrenoleukodystrophy, a genetic disorder which stripped him of hearing, sight and movement, and left him confined to bed. But it was a life nonetheless, and it lasted as long as it did only because of the extraordinary way his parents cherished it. When, as a sparky, trilingual six-year-old, Lorenzo was diagnosed, doctors told Augusto and Michaela Odone their child would not reach age eight. But Augusto refused to accept that nothing could be done, and he resolved to change the science. He lacked any qualification to do so, and yet remarkably he succeeded. By ploughing through the journals, he made himself an expert and was soon convening meetings of specialists from around the world. Thanks to his drive, the plodding pace of research was stepped up to a march, and within three years he had patented Lorenzo's oil. A Hollywood film of the same name presented it as a miracle cure; the truth is that it did, miraculously, prevent others from becoming sick, but it could not reverse the damage already done to victims such as Lorenzo. What allowed him to cheat death for so long was not medicine. Michaela, who died in 2000, reordered the family's existence around his care. Their sacrifices kept him safe, and his expression responded to the attention he received. The last 22 years of Lorenzo's life are proof of the power of love.”

12 comments:

Nunyaa said...

Amazing what the power of thought and positive thinking can achieve.

Dr.John said...

What a great story. Thank you for sharing.

Liz said...

A sad but inspiring story.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I am so sad to hear that Lorenzo has died. How courageous his parents were.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks everyone. It is a sad yet an inspiring story.

betmo said...

i often catch articles by the guardian in my google reader- i didn't happen to catch this one.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Inspiring for sure, Jams.

WillThink4Wine said...

The few comments on the Gauardian article were cynical, at best. Obviously they were written by someone who either has no children or has never loved a child. Never underestimate the power of the love of a parent!

One of my sisters has 4 special-needs children. She fights every day for them.

Thanks for this Jams, I hadn't heard that Lorenzo or Michaela had died. I have this (on video!) and have watched it many times. It's a powerful movie.

jams o donnell said...

It is an inspiring story. Will think. I didn't look at the comments but newspapers articles often attract comments the pig ignorant and the stupid. It is a testament to the power of love. I am not a parent but it is not such a big step to imagine what a parent will do. THe Odones are a prime example of this.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I saw a very touching story about a Mormon family in Idaho who inexplicably have had all 4 children stricken with the same disease that disallows their children to digest food. It is not a hereditary or genetic disorder and doctors are at a loss to explain how all 4 children have it. The kids are dying slowly as their internal organs shut down. The father went back to school to get his medical degree so he can research and find a solution to this relatively unheard of disorder.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Lorenzo's is indeed a fantastic story. His parents and family members are really quality human beings.

jams o donnell said...

Oh my god EWBL that is a terrible story. I hope something can be domne for those poor kids