Tuesday, February 07, 2006

ANOTHER CANDLE



In the relatively brief time Sym and I have been a part of this world of autism, certain people have been inspirations to us. Alan and Lujene Clark are high on the list.

Dr. Alan Clark’s curriculum vitae appears similar to those of countless other physicians we all grew up admiring. His distinguished career in emergency and forensic medicine, together with his community involvement, made him a leader before autism came into his life. With his son’s diagnosis, he found a different outlet for his talents ⎯ an outlet he shared with his equally impressive wife, Lujene.

Last June, Dr. Clark wrote the following. It’s excerpted from a blog post, in which he responded to a certain skeptical blogger, who happens to be a surgeon holding a far more mainstream opinion of the hypothesized link between mercury-containing vaccines and autism:
I suspect many physicians, like you and I, might be in denial at the thought of inadvertently poisoning an entire generation of children. It’s not our fault. We were misled and we did what we thought was best for our patients.
. . .

Our son was 7 1/2 years old when he reached his “toxic tipping point” with mercury after he received two doses of Thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine in November 2002 and December 2002 (approximately 30 days apart per the ACIP/CDC guidelines). Within a matter of weeks he experienced dramatic changes...he suffered severe neurodevelopmental changes, neurobehavioral symptoms, exacerbated allergies, asthma, eczema, etc.

Within 10 months, he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Only when we identified mercury as the culprit and started to remove the heavy metal from his system, did he begin to recover.

Until October 2003, I, too, was “blissfully ignorant” of the acute toxicity of Thimerosal much like most other physicians. We were never told our son’s vaccines contained mercury, a known neurotoxin, in levels that exceeded EPA safety guidelines. It never occurred to us to ask. Because of my medical background, I thought physicians could trust the CDC, the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. I must hope that no one else should reach this epiphany at so high a price.

Along with working to heal their son, it became Alan and Lujene Clark’s mission to bring their epiphany to the rest of us. Together they founded No Mercury, educating the public about the very real dangers of injecting mercury into our children.

During these last two years, Alan Clark brought intelligence and dignity to the thimerosal debate. It was far too short a time. This evening’s Schafer Autism report brought the news that Dr. Clark passed away after fighting cancer for the last several months.

I have no doubt that Lujene will ably continue the work to which she and Alan dedicated their lives. But that will have to wait. First, we all need to mourn a great loss.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ADDENDUM:
Dr. Clark’s hometown paper published an obituary that gives us more insight into this remarkable man. This is how it ends:
Clark’s varied interests and talents — publishing an online novel, an online medical column, writing music, playing piano and his medical career — earned him the nickname “Renaissance Man,” said his friend and St. John’s coworker Cora Scott. Clark only laughed, she said.

Among her lasting memories of Clark, she said, is this quote by an unknown author that he used to close his e-mails:

“Don't tell God how big your storm is ... tell the storm how big God is.”

I like that.

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