The Warfield Family Makes a Difference | Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association

The Warfield Family Makes a Difference

Do you stumble and fall?  Do you have very high arches?  Are your hands and ankles weak?  For those of us with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), these questions represent our reality. And, for the Warfield family, this reality means three generations of family members enduring CMT.

After years of experiencing symptoms, Missy was not altogether surprised by her CMT1A diagnosis, but a whole new level of concern arrived when her and her husband Seth’s two children were diagnosed with CMT in grade school. Then, years later, a greater call to action came when two of their six “grands” were diagnosed with CMT as toddlers.

As a mother who felt some guilt for having passed down CMT1A to both of her children, Missy always strived to set an example by showing what she could do instead of yielding to what she couldn’t. She wrote, volunteered and organized large events. She played tennis until she could no longer play doubles. Then it was golf until that became too strenuous. Her philosophy was to focus on how she and their children, hampered by weakened legs, hands, and feet, would triumph with the blessings of great spirit and a loving family.

Missy and Seth were heartbroken when their children could not actively play sports in school, but took pride seeing the young Warfields managing teams. Still, it was not the same. With grit and determination, their kids became class leaders and student government officers. Now grown, the Warfield children continue to participate and lead, as well as travel and volunteer. Missy and Seth’s son is a pediatrician and their daughter is a geriatric social worker. According to all who know them, the Warfields lead “normal” lives. But with CMT, normal never comes easy.

For many years, Missy and Seth supported the CMTA through donations. Occasionally, Missy wrote articles for the CMTA Report. But it was the hopeful announcement of the CMTA’s Strategy to Accelerate Research (STAR) that inspired the Warfields to truly make the CMTA their cause. They recognized that STAR was the pathway to find a cure for all types of CMT as it encouraged cooperation among researchers worldwide.

Seth and Missy pledged to do what they could to help realize the CMTA’s vision of a world without CMT not only for Missy but also for their children, grandchildren and other young people so they would not suffer the falls and surgeries that had plagued much of Missy’s life. Through their support of STAR, the Warfield family has made a tremendous impact on scientific progress in the CMT field through the Warfield Family Challenge and several other fundraising sponsorships over the years.

Additionally, through Missy’s local and statewide PR campaigns, the Warfields have made a life-changing difference for many individuals and families in the CMT community. Founding the Easton, Maryland Support Branch was especially rewarding for the Warfield family. People all over Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Delaware, and the Chesapeake Bay came to these meetings and learned they were not alone! Through the Easton Branch, attendees had the opportunity to receive education, resources, and advice from gifted physicians in the CMT field, including Dr. Steve Scherer from Pennsylvania, Dr. Tom Lloyd from Johns Hopkins and Shawna Feeley from Dr. Mike Shy’s lab at Iowa. Members were also able to benefit from the expertise of physical therapists, an acupuncture expert, as well as balance, brace and orthotic specialists.

For decades, all of us CMT patients have shared the same issues and frustrations—the feet, falls, pain, and family impact of CMT. The Warfields believe that because of STAR’s work over that past decade, the next decade and beyond will be brighter for members of their family and many others! Through their support of the CMTA’s patient programs, they are making a better today and tomorrow. This holiday season, will you, too, make the CMTA your cause?