19 November 2011

Raising FMD Awareness In Style

Today I had the great pleasure of unveiling the new logo for the global peer-to-peer support group for fibromuscular dysplasia patients, FMD Chat. The indelible image brings together the symbolism of FMD's primary form — the ubiquitous string of beads — with the vascular system's complex web of arteries connecting heart and hand, which is seen as both giving and receiving, and represents the caring community created by FMD Chat's participants.

Our designer is none other than my dear friend Margaret Hester. Margaret is a graphic designer and photographer with a warm and fun personality. She knows how much FMD Chat means to me — I am fortunate to be a co-founder along with my cohort, Kari Ulrich, who has inspired me with her tireless dedication to patient advocacy. When I asked Margaret to design a logo for us, I was pleased when she sought to better understand fibromuscular dysplasia so as to best portray its characteristics. FMD is a rare disease, though recent studies indicate that it may not be as rare as it is simply underdiagnosed. FMD can masquerade as other vascular diseases and, in cases such as mine, present with gasterointestinal symptoms that throw doctors for a loop. There is no blood test for FMD—just as there is no real treatment and no cure. The gold standard for diagnosing FMD is via angiogram, which provides a detailed look at a patient's arteries and may reveal the tell-tale string of beads of the medial variety or narrowing that may at first look like traditional atherosclerosis or stenosis in my own intimal variety.

As FMD Chat continues to grow, we hope that FMD patients and family members, healthcare providers and caregivers, supporters and advocates may draw their own inspiration from the logo. We are patients, and therefore we understand what it means for patients to put their hope, faith, and effort into a support group—it is a matter of holding one another's hearts, it is a matter of trust, it is a matter of compassion, and it is a matter of patients doing unto others as they would have done to them. We thank all of those in the FMD community who have chosen to participate in FMD Chat—we couldn't do it with out you. 

To learn more about designer and photographer Margaret Hester, please visit her at pictographybymargaret.com, on Facebook, and on Etsy, where her work is available for purchase. Please connect with FMD Chat on Facebook and Twitter

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