Please make a donation of $35 to the National Osteoporosis Foundation in celebration and recognition of all the good work the NOF has done during the last 35 years.
But I also have a personal reason. Here's my story, which I call "A Tale of Two Falls" . . .
When I was about 50, while walking my dog, I tripped and fell. To stop the fall, I used the hand that wasn't holding the leash. A visit to the ER showed a fracture in my wrist. No one asked me if I was post-menopausal (I was) or if I had ever had a bone density test (I had not). Months later I went for my annual physical and told my doctor about the fall. He sent me for my first DXA (bone density test), a non-invasive super-fast test that measures the density of our bones. What did it show? LOW BONE DENSITY, which is the first stop before OSTEOPOROSIS, a bone disease that can debilitate and contribute to premature death.
In partnership with my doctor, I created a "Bone Health Plan" which included strength-training, eating calcium-rich foods, making sure my vitamin D levels were where they should be, and having follow-up DXA tests every two years to make sure my plan was working. I immediately plugged into the National Osteoporosis Foundation website to get the details on the best foods, exercises and everything else I needed to know to prevent osteoporosis. At that time, I also wrote my first book about healthy aging, gave talks around the country about it, with a specific focus on how healthy bones = healthy aging.
Shortly after that I was named the Bone Health Ambassador for the National Osteoporosis Foundation and eventually joined the Board of Trustees, focusing mostly on patient advocacy. My mission is to help people pay attention to their bones as early in life as possible to prevent osteoporosis.
In early 2017, my mother lost her balance and fell while in her bathroom. A trip to the emergency room showed a broken hip. Emergency surgery was scheduled that day, resulting in a lengthy hostpital stay, followed by months of physical therapy in a . Before the fall, she was active and able to live in her beautiful three-story house in Virginia Beach, VA. After the fall, she is unable to walk without the help of others or a walker. She now resides in an Assisted Living Facilty over 350 miles away from where I live in NYC. Her life changed forever due to osteoporosis, a disease of the bones which we did not realize she had. Now, I am a long-distance caregiver to my mother. I am still in a state of shock by how quickly her health and wellbeing spiraled downward after the fall.
The truth is we don't focus enough on our bones, and this is especially true of women who go through menopause. We all think that osteoporosis is something that "happens to little old ladies." Whle it's true that the disease usually presents itself when we're older, like my mother, the reality is our bones start to get weaker and thinner when we're in our early 30s, and that loss accelerates as women go through menopause and lose estrogen . . . but most people don't know that. We at the National Osteoporosis Foundation are determined to change this perception of osteoporosis and bone health.
Please support my 2019 TCS NYC Marathon run this year so we can continue to spread the message of 'healthy bones = healthy aging' and create more programs to advocate for patients who do have osteoporosis.