This week, we present two stories about the mother-child relationship intersecting with science, from a daughter and a mother. Part 1: Actor and writer Erica Silberman tries to find a place for her mother with Alzheimer’s. Part 2: When Pat Furlong’s sons are diagnosed with a severe type of muscular dystophy, she’s determined to find answers. Erica Silberman showed promise in science for one brief semester in high school when she got an A+ in chemistry. Since then, she has become a playwright, director, producer, and in home color consultant. She’s published in The Best Monologues from the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Playscripts, Teachers & Writers, and the Sunday Salon. She has been a mentor and a workshop leader, and served on various boards at Girls Write Now, a presidential award winning after school mentoring program for high school girls from underserved city schools. In the spring of 2018 her play, In the Night Everyone is Equal, will be produced by The Dramatic Question Theatre at Art NY. Pat Furlong is the Founding President and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), the largest nonprofit organization in the United States solely focused on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne). Their mission is to end Duchenne. They accelerate research, raise their voices in Washington, demand optimal care for all young men, and educate the global community. Duchenne is the most common fatal, genetic childhood disorder. It affects 1:4,600 boys worldwide and has no cure. When doctors diagnosed her two sons, Christopher and Patrick, with Duchenne in 1984, Pat immersed herself in research, working to understand the pathology of the disorder, the extent of research investment and the mechanisms for optimal care. In 1994, Pat, together with other parents of young men with Duchenne, founded PPMD to change the course of Duchenne and, ultimately, to find a cure. Today, Pat is considered one of the foremost authorities on Duchenne in the world.
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