Savannah Szwarc

Boca Raton, FL

My daughter, Savannah was diagnosed with lymphadema when she was 17. It affects her right leg and she has been living with the condition for now 7 years.

She is extremely self conscious about her leg even if the manifestation of the condition is barely noticeable some days (as you can see on her photo) and her case is mild so far. She understands that she will live with this condition all her life and will have to be extremely vigilant about risk of infection in her leg. (She was hospitalized twice with dermatitis and concerns about her muscle being infected as well.)

She relies on a compression pump and sleeves to keep the swelling under control. I wanted to point out that, at her age, the ignorance about her condition leads to bullying and her being the target of mean-spirited young adults very often. This sad reality underlines the lack of compassion and understanding about the condition (beside the fact that social network bullying is unfortunately unavoidable).

I applaud Kathy Bates of her efforts to make the condition better known and talked about as it affects millions of people including my beautiful daughter. I wish for the younger generations to learn more about this disease and its impact on the self esteem of its victims in a society so obsessed with physical appearance.