Saturday, October 20, 2007

MICHAEL LANG (1958 – 2007)

Okay, I really didn’t mean to take that long a break from blogging. It just sort of happened. I got busy with life for a while and . . . well, as my wife says, you never have to explain things like being late or forgetting about something to other autism parents; they understand how it is.

Before getting to what’s on my mind, I do want to thank the friends who emailed or left comments to make sure all was well. Yes, everything is well ⎯ great even. I got a little caught up in being there for a young man who is making incredible progress these days (and fighting the occasional fight for him), and I wanted to keep my focus there.

All that being said, there is also sad news. Many of us in the autism world lost a good friend a few days ago.

The families who practice biomedical interventions with their autistic children are often confronted with charlatans who are out to make a buck at our expense, but then again we also come across truly good people who have joined us in this battle for all the right reasons. Michael Lang was one of the really good guys.

Michael and his company, Brainchild Nutritionals, offered high quality vitamin and mineral supplements in liquid form. But his quality as a person rather than just the quality of his products will be his legacy. My wife, Sym, knew him better than I did, my contact being just a brief introduction along the way. But I knew what he did for folks like us. Sym came to know him as a friend she could always call on.

All I ever needed to know about the man was what happened a couple of years ago, when the Rankin family still lived in South Louisiana. It was the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, when those of us who lived in the strike zone were slowly reestablishing contact with the outside world. One of the earliest calls that came through on Sym’s cell phone, even before we made it back from our evacuation, was Michael Lang. He had two questions: how were we, and what could he do to help? Michael wound up sending supplements, free of charge, to families who had lost so much. As far as I know, he never tried to make a big deal of it; he considered it a simple act of kindness that required no recognition.

We’ve met some good people on this journey. On October 16, 2007, cancer stole a good one from us. Michael Lang will be missed.

Michael did not accumulate great wealth from his enterprise. His reward was the satisfaction of helping families like his. If you would like to return the kindness, a fund has been set up for his children. Donations may be sent to the Michael Lang Children’s Fund, account number 048274377, c/o Bank of the West, 2020 North Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Lang stands out to me as one many great men of our modern times.....I started working at BrainChild Nutritionals back in December 2006. Michael was the most amazing employer I have EVER worked for. As a parent of a child on the Spectrum, Michael offered me a job at a time when it was nearly impossible find employment. In my spare time I was networking from home and in contact with parents all over the country with varied challenges related to ASD. I was also studying and researching to help my own child when I came across Michael's work on sulfur redox and it's role in detoxification and also saw his picture on the web. Then one afternoon after my usual trip to the gym, I went to the local New Leaf Market in Capitola for some lunch and saw Michael walking in with his son. As I was leaving I thought I recognized him. I approached and sure enough it was him. I asked "Are you Michael Lang?" surprised, he turned and said "yes" I started to share that I was a fan of his work on sulfur redox and he asked what kind of work was I did and of course I was too ashamed to admit that I was unemployed. So I began explain some of what I was doing from home and that I was in between jobs. He then proceeded offered me a job, in fact Michael wrote the company's phone number on my pizza box! and rest was history. Micheal was the most generous and compassionate person. In my interview he sat me down and said "Ok, lets talk about your schedule, I understand the challenge of raising kids on the Spectrum and I want to make sure you have time for yourself". I nearly fell of my seat. I can honestly say that this has been the most amazing job that I could have ever asked for. And I thank God for this wonderful job and having been able to get to know Michael, he taught me a great deal. And as I have observed him over time, I can truly say that he was the real deal. He took the time and care to oversee every aspect of the company from the finest details of manufacturing our products to making sure everyone in the company was well supported in everyway. He never compromised on quality, ever. He was and still is one of my heros. The impact Michael left on us at the company is profound, and we are committed to honoring his memory, his legacy and continuing his work.

We love and miss you Micheal.

Stacee James
BrainChild Nutritionals

10/21/07, 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the typos, I accidentally hit the "post" button when I was still proof reading and finishing my post~

10/21/07, 8:56 PM  
Blogger mary Tartaro said...

I learned of Micheals passing through the BCN wesite ( I was looking up supplements for a friend) After years living on the east coast I had temporarily lost contacting with him and was shocked by the news and the loss of an old friend that I HAD TAKEN FOR GRANTED WOULD ALWAYS BE THERE. Michael was not only a sweet, gentle man but an artist and photographer of great vision. Many of you knew him as an innovator in the cause of curing autism but what many may not have known is that he was also a brilliant photographer who set aside his work for a different path to help his children and others like them. I knew him well at a time when we were both graduate art students at San Jose State.He was like a big brother to me, who helped me in ways to numersome to mention. He met with alot of adversity in that program because he had chosen "documentary photography" which was not hip with the faculty in that program at the time.Despite this, the stubbornness for which he is well known propelled him forward to produce an absolutely stunning body of photographs based on documenting religious ritual of every possible kind. A professed agnostic, I think he was searching for something and , to me,this "something" came through in his work. Just as in his work on autism, Micheal tirelessly researched this area which allowed him access to a world that anyone of less persistance and talent would have been deinied. If this work is still out there, I would love to focuss the energy I feel in missing Michael toward curating it into a traveling exhibiton both to share his legacy and to contribute the proceeds to the son and daughter he left behind. I think he was doing some really important work and would love to see his legacy as an artist continue alongside his contributions with Brainchild. Please let me know if anyone out there has any idea what happened to this body of work, Thank you, Mary Tartaro
Curator, Perspective Gallery Virginia Tech SJSU Alum 1992

11/14/08, 9:02 AM  

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