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Isolation Is A Danger For The Sick – And For The Healthy

Tuesday 18 August 2020


From US newspaper the Hartford Courant:


Paul Newman and kids
Paul Newman at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
with children.
(Courtesy of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp)

Isolation is a danger for the sick — and for the healthy

By Miriam Nelson
Special to Hartford Courant
August 16, 2020
Copyright © 2020, Hartford Courant.

At the dinner table, my 31-year-old son, Mason Earle, stared at me as he said: “Mom, I think everyone now has a sense of the slow, drawn-out drowning I feel, all alone in my illness.”

He was referring to the isolation caused by COVID-19. Both the sick and the healthy know that sense of aloneness. He was also harkening back to what he first experienced in May 2018 when he — a world-class rock climber — got sick while on a trip in Yosemite. Mason has been seriously ill ever since. Just days ago, he underwent neurosurgery to relieve brainstem compression, a new treatment that offers hope to some suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, the disease with which he was finally diagnosed.

It’s been a rough two years. Mason’s isolation climbed at the same rate that his quality of life declined. And he is right about our shared isolation. He also knows that many thousands of seriously ill children live lives defined by these conditions. He has heard me talk about camps designed for these kids to connect and experience the freedom and joy of climbing a rock wall or roasting marshmallows at dusk. Actor Paul Newman created the first of these — The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp — after he founded Newman’s Own, a foundation I now lead.


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