Schroon woman returns to health, business

Joan Cunningham to expand

— “I am excited about 2013,” exclaimed Joan Cunningham, creator of Joanie’s Goodies. “Last year was a roller coaster year, after finally getting back to my beloved home in Schroon Lake from a three-year stint in hospitals and rehabs, I thought the worst was behind me. In January, these ugly big blisters started showing up on my legs and tummy; after a massive dosage of steroids the blisters were finally under control; but, the steroids left me 100 pounds plus heavier. Then in March, I broke my leg, six surgeries later and 10 weeks in various hospitals, they finally got that under control.

“In December, I spent a week at the National Institute of Health Human Genome program and received excellent news,” she continued. “I was chosen from thousands of applicants to be involved in NIH’s undiagnosed disease program. The leading doctors in the world tried to figure out what caused my body to turn on me and attack my body, bones, lungs and brain leaving me paralyzed from the chest down. It was an incredible trip. I was overwhelmed by the compassion of the folks at NIH who were working on my unique case.

“They gave me the best Christmas present ever when they told me that ‘Joanie’s disease is miraculously in remission’,” Cunningham said. “They were amazed that my lungs and brain were clear of any liaisons.

“I told them that it’s positive thinking and as I’ve always said, ‘When life gives you lemons, just make sweet lemonwade’,” she continued. “The director of NIH, Dr. William Gahl, commented that, ‘Joanie is an extraordinary individual who lifted our spirits with her amazing resilience.’ My real hope is that if even if they can’t help me that this research will lead to help for others who suffer from other neurological diseases, like m.s or devics.

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