October 7, 2012 — Cheyney, PA

Words of appreciation!

We are writing to express our sincerest thanks for supporting Denis’s recent “Walking With Nathaniel” pilgrimage to raise awareness about BDD and to provide essential funding for research into this devastating disorder. The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) has given us the list to date of names and addresses of those who have sent in contributions. We are overwhelmed by the response and profoundly grateful for your participation.

The vital statistics are in:

  • Denis walked 552 miles (1,110,000 steps according to one friend with a pedometer);
  • 62 supporters, family members, and friends joined the walk at various points;
  • 25 friends and family provided Denis meals and/or a place to spend the night;
  • Denis met with 145 professionals at clinics and hospitals and talked with over 250 people while walking; 267 people signed his pilgrim’s passport;
  • 182 people and groups contributed a total of $25,685 — $9,800 earmarked for education/awareness; $15,785 for research.

After the walk, our journey took us to Chicago in July for the annual OCD conference, a first for us. All three of us were able to attend sessions on genetics, research, BDD awareness, and other topics. To be in attendance with 1,000 other participants, all of whom have a connection with BDD or OCD as therapists, sufferers, or family members, felt immediately comforting, as we were immersed in a world where no one needed an explanation of our son’s crushing burden. Everyone knew, everyone cared, and everyone wants to help alleviate this suffering.

Genetics research into OCD and related disorders is making some headway, revealing that many genes are at play.  New brain imaging techniques have shown that those with BDD process facial images on the left side of the brain, not the right side like most of us. We don’t know yet how these findings will translate into more effective treatment, but the research is an encouraging start. In its next review of proposals in January 2013, the Foundation has made a revitalized commitment to fund research specifically for BDD. A new website dedicated to BDD and embedded within the IOCDF webpage will also be launched shortly.

We have already begun conversations with the Foundation about a walk in October 2013, this time involving many families in many cities. Stay tuned! We have heard from people throughout the country, and even a few from abroad, so we are encouraged that word is getting out, and that no family needs to suffer alone.

Thanks again for honoring Nathaniel’s enduring spirit and the gifts he gave to those who knew him. It has made a huge difference to us, and will help others in ways that we cannot even predict.


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