I've had many people ask me questions of why I started the Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor. I hope this answers many questions.
My passion is writing and I had put off writing my stories for years. It seemed excuses kept flowing of being busy and everyone will think that I’ve gone crazy. After many years of excuses I began my journey of writing.
However, my real journey began one night when I wrote “A Faded Cottage” a love story about an artist living with Essential Tremor.
Why I wrote 'A Faded Cottage'
It was my birthday, the night of December 18, 2010, a very calm and uneventful night. I couldn’t sleep, which isn’t unusual for me, so I made my way downstairs to my cubby office. I decided since I was wide-awake that I’d work on one of my novels.
I sat down in front of the computer and began to type, but it seemed my fingers and hands had another idea as they shook uncontrollably over the keyboard. If you’ve tried to text as you are riding in a car or train when it’s bumpy, then you might understand how difficult it is to type with tremoring fingers when you have trouble hitting the correct keys. You see, I have had Essential Tremor from my early twenties and I’d learn to deal with my tremors for many years. But this night it became overpowering.
I leaned back in my chair and stared at the computer screen. My anger grew watching my hands quiver over the keyboard, and for once in my life I felt sorry for myself. The question of why me, a question without an answer, played repeatedly in my mind.
I took in a deep breath, closed my eyes and I let my tremoring hands type and the words, “Happy birthday dumb-ass” were written across the screen. I laughed and let the words flow and Quaid Witherspoon, a famous artist, was born.
A man who had everything or so he thought, but now his hands had abandoned him and his life of painting had ceased, becoming a bitter man. I didn’t have the story of Quaid planned that night. His character emerged from my mind and as the story grew I calmed while I released the stress of the evening telling Quaid’s story, a journal of only two weeks of his life. The story of Quaid Witherspoon, the novel 'A Faded Cottage', became an incredible love story, one about strength of mind to fight fate and never accept what life throws at you.
‘A Faded Cottage’ is journal of a famous artist not of his life, but of only two weeks, a love story about aging and two people being reunited after thirty years finding love can conquer all.
I put “A Faded Cottage” aside and kept editing my other stories to send to publishers, but “A Faded Cottage” kept pulling me in. I let friends read the manuscript and they believed I should go ahead and publish the novel to let others understand what I was living through with my tremoring hands. So began my journey. I gave in and sent the manuscript to publishers. To my surprise, I had a publisher come back to me right away and A Faded Cottage became my first novel. Then, I learned no one knew what ET was, so at my book signings I started to tell my story about ET. Well, the fire of spreading the word about Essential Tremor that I’d leaped into continued and I decided to start my own foundation.
However, the first of May, my life was jerked to a stop. My healthy young son, who was backing me on my journey, went to the hospital with a headache. We learned he had an aggressive stage 4 cancerous tumor the size of a lemon in his brain. He elected to have surgery, never woke, and died on May 20, 2014.
My life now had changed or maybe seemed to have ended. In June I sat back and reflected about my journey that had all started with one little book “A Faded Cottage.” How that one night on my birthday writing that book had sent me on a wild journey and I didn’t know if I wanted to continue. I had set out just to write my stories, but my life had turned into a whirlwind and now I had to make a decision.
I decided to take some time to think and I began the edits on “Whispering Fog” a time travel romance. My editor and I finished “Whispering Fog,” and the novel was published.
I don’t give up easy and knew my son would be disappointed if I didn’t continue with the Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor. On August 29, 2014 the IRS approved Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor.
What will my journey be in the future? I have become adamant to make a change, bring awareness, and find a cure for ET.
My light is growing dim, and my energy has grown low, however I will see what the future holds, and whether the flame will be distinguished or grow stronger to tell the world about Essential Tremor. I'm asking for support. There are many ways to support a foundation. Donate time to help with whatever you can, write articles, start a newsletter, help with IT services, so many ways to volunteer. Yes, it does take a lot of people and funds to advertise, bring awareness, and grant medical research money to doctors, to make a difference.
I hope you will join me on my journey and if you have any questions that you’d like answered, I’d be glad to help. firstname.lastname@example.org