For many years, ACN quietly enjoyed a special friend at the National Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) in New York: Mrs. Eleanor Pearl, who passed away in 1999.
Eleanor and her husband, Bill, founded the TSA almost 30 years ago as they sought to cope with having multiple family members afflicted with TS.
She faithfully volunteered at the TSA well into her eighties and was respected and loved by TSA staff and members. For the past decade, Mrs. Pearl forwarded letters of inquiry on alternative treatments received at the TSA and related anecdotal reports to our organization. In doing so, she frequently attached her own commentary.
I noticed that regardless of the nature of the anecdotal report, she treated each person’s story with dignity, and she shared the hope that it would lead to future insights for treatment.
I should point out that this effort by her was pursued regardless of the fact that the national organization has never encouraged, much less embraced, the concept that Tourette’s can be treated without drugs.
Mrs. Pearl has been one of the most consistent supporters of ACN Latitudes, providing me with encouragement by phone and by letter. I was especially touched when she sent me books from her deceased husband’s library, including a personalized, signed edition by nutritional pioneer, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, and an early book by advisory board member Dr. Abram Hoffer. Mr. and Mrs. Pearl shared a keen interest in nutritional approaches for TS, and they were far ahead of their time in this regard.
I value the handwritten notes she sent, some of which hang by my computer. Each time an issue of Latitudes (our print newsletter at the time) included an editorial that challenged the TSA to start highlighting environmental factors and nutritional approaches for tics, my biggest concern was not how the various medical and advisory board members would react, but, rather, what Eleanor Pearl would think. For this reason, when sending those issues to her I would always include an explanatory letter and an apology in case my editorial seemed too strong. Without fail, she responded with gracious notes of support:
“Keep up the wonderful work you are doing.”
“Don’t get discouraged.”
“You are fulfilling such a needed function.”
“Bless you … Fondly, Eleanor”
I was saddened to learn of Eleanor Pearl’s passing, and I will miss her.