Numbers are a great tool to express how many people are living with essential tremor (ET). For example, the condition is eight times more common than Parkinson’s disease1 and affects about 10 million Americans2.
The numbers, however, do not tell the whole story. Despite these significant numbers, if you ask your friends or family members, ET is not widely known among the general public. Even in the medical community, shaky hands may not be considered a serious medical condition, rather a normal part of aging. While these statistics bring the gravity of ET into focus, individuals behind these numbers deserve to be put in the spotlight, each with their unique struggles, stories and passions.
March is National Essential Tremor Awareness Month; last year Insightec launched Get a Grip on ET, a campaign created to raise awareness of the challenges experienced by people living with this condition and how it can take away one of our most powerful and useful tools, our hands. This year at INSIGHTEC, we decided to share stories of the people living with essential tremor who were able to Get a Grip on ET and continue to pursue what brings them joy.
One story we chose to highlight is about Haya Mendelbaum, who risked losing both her livelihood and her passion after ET made it progressively difficult for her to run her bakery. Haya chose to pursue focused ultrasound treatment which allowed her to keep baking and serving her customers – an integral part of her identity.
Haya’s story is just one of hundreds of stories showing a person’s determination to continue doing what defines them beyond their essential tremor —there’s Gregg, who sought treatment to be able to continuing working in his profession as an electronics technician; there’s Karl, a retired engineer and competitive swimmer who didn’t let his condition keep him out of the water.
Our goal this year was to get people sharing their passions by asking the question – What’s the unique thing that makes you you? The results were staggering—nearly 1,500 ET patients and caregivers shared their passions, with interests ranging from photography, to coding software to gardening. Though respondents shared how their tremor could make daily tasks a constant struggle, many described tactics and tips they’ve adopted to continue pursuing what brings them joy.
What defines you? Visit www.getagriponet.com to share what makes you unique and learn how people living with essential tremor continue to pursue their passions and life’s joyful moments.
1 ET vs Parkinson’s disease: How do they differ. International Essential Tremor Foundation. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from https://essentialtremor.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ETvsPD092012.pdf
2 What is essential tremor? International Essential Tremor Foundation. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from https://www.essentialtremor.org/about-et/
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