Early into my tenure with LE&RN, a therapist told me about all the men who suffered from lymphedema. She then said, "And you'll never meet them."
She went on to mention the incidence of primary lymphedema in men where the lower extremities are affected. She talked about secondary lymphedema brought on as a result of treatment for prostrate cancer. In both cases, she said men were inclined to zip up both their pants and lips. It's a hostile world for people who are different, and hiding one's lymphedema has been a preferred course of action for both men and women when possible.
In 2014, LE&RN launched the Face of Lymphedema Challenge™ at its September Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases in NYC. Silence wasn't ever going to create change. Invisibility would never lead to treatments and cures. The "Challenge" called upon the bravest among us to stand tall and say, "I have lymphedema" for all to hear.
Enter Jake Miles. Jake was at LE&RN's NYC Walk. Shortly afterwards, he gave a talk at a Storytelling Class. He chose to speak about his lymphedema -- something he had endured since birth. A friend filmed this presentation with an iPhone for Jake's personal benefit. However, having laid bare his soul, Jake shared the video with LE&RN.
Heroes change us by opening our eyes to the best in us. I invite you to watch this very personal video, and to begin to see the world in a whole different light.