Neuropathy Is a Personal Cause for Patient Advocates

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By Lisa Gilman

Actors Support Retired Film Editor’s Cause. From l, actor Darby Hinton and actress Jodi Fleisher are shown here in support of retired 20th Century Fox film and TV editor Orven Schanzer, who suffers with both severe acquired and inherited peripheral neuropathy.

Over 20 million Americans suffer from neuropathy and its many varied crippling and debilitating symptoms. My uncle is one of those suffering patients. My mother, whom I witnessed die bedridden from this progressive nerve and muscle wasting disease was another. And, my aunt who had burning pain in her feet and ankles in her final year as she lay bedridden, was yet another.

The nonprofit my uncle Orven Schanzer – who suffers with both acquired and inherited peripheral neuropathy – and I founded is Ambor Schanzer Fight Against Neuropathy (A.S.F.A.N.). With one in 12 over the age of 55 trying to cope with drop foot and gait imbalance, and one in three diabetics and HIV patients severely afflicted with numbness and sharp, stabbing pains in their extremities, our mission is to raise awareness for: more research, better effective treatment, and a cure.

Our organization has participated in many health fairs, public outreach, and has received many Certificates of Commendation from local politicians, including Councilman Tom LaBonge, president of the Los Angeles City Council Eric Garcetti, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Simply, we promote civic well-being in the community.

Last year, we partnered with Macy’s Shop for a Cause and raised research funds for neuropathy clinical trials. Currently, we are partnering with Ralph’s in their charitable community giving program through August 31.

We’re about dispelling neuromuscular myths for “PN” as patients call it; it’s not just an old person’s disease, a diabetic’s disease, or an autoimmune-related HIV/Lupus or Chemo-related disease. It’s an equal opportunity nerve killer that affects all ages and races.

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