I like to be direct and there are certainly folks that appreciate directness. This post is aimed directly at asking for your help to increase awareness and raise funds for a rare children’s disease.
If you want to get right to the heart of the matter, please visit Julie Golob’s website where she explains what is going on and how you can help.
If you are a video type person, check out the video I shot at the range showing one of the ways you can get involved.
If you do anything, I’d appreciate you following one of the two links above.
If you aren’t ready to click yet, or if you would dimply like some relevant background info, read on!
I haven’t been creating much content for SSA over the past year or so. I’ve started to put some videos up on the SSA YouTube Channel and they have been well received, but in general, my content has been posted at places like Gunmagwarehouse.com, Ammoman.com, Shooting Illustrated and most recently, Springfield Armory’s blog.
Sometimes it takes a big push to get the ball rolling again.
Recently Julie Golob gave me that push. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. First, Julie. If you don’t know her, she is a veteran, a world champion, a professional competitive shooter, the captain of Team Smith & Wesson, a hunter, Second Amendment advocate, an industry ambassador, a wife and, of course, a mom.
Julie has been on the SSA Podcast a bunch of times. I’ll link to those episodes at the end of the post.
The push that Julie gave me was inadvertent, but it was a good shove nonetheless. Let me explain.
Julie and I have some things in common. Some of those things are obvious, some not so much. One of the “not so much” things plays a big role in this post. Julie and I both have 11-year-old daughters. I’ve never met Julie’s family and she has never met mine, but whenever we meet up we share what is going on with our families and especially our kids.
Taking Health for Granted
Now I take a lot of things for granted in my life. I don’t mean to, but when you are blessed, it is easy to overlook how good things are. When Julie shared with me that her oldest daughter was sick it brought things into perspective for me with regards to the health of my kids and how lucky I am.
Julie’s daughter, “Munchkin”, as Julie refers to her on social media, was recently diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, or JDM. JDM is a specific form of a group of autoimmune diseases simply know as juvenile myositis.
JM is rare affecting less than 4 children in 1,000,000.
When you break down the meaning of the words that make up JDM, juvenile means the disease affects children. Itis means inflammation of and derma and myo refer to the skin and muscles. If you put it all together, JDM is a kids disease that is an inflammation of the skin and muscles. Sounds pretty easy to deal with right? Take some ibuprofen for the swelling, rub some lotion on the skin to take care of the rash and it’ll be fine tomorrow.
Unfortunately, it is more complicated than that. Doctors don’t know what causes JDM, but what they understand so far is that JDM is an overactive immune system. The immune system gets so riled up that it actually attacks the skin and muscles as if they are infections in the body.
There is no cure. Aggressive treatment with steroid infusions and injections of chemotherapy drugs can lead to remission in 3-5 years.
Taking action is pretty much what Julie does when she identifies a problem. Of course, that started with getting her daughter the best care possible. Years of smart financial planning and good insurance helped take care of that. What they found along the way is that the current best care for JDM patients is relatively limited.
Because the disease is so rare, doctors are often not aware of the disease and how to efficiently diagnose it. The low level of awareness also leads to funding issues for research dedicated to expanding treatment options and ultimately finding a cure.
Julie felt like she could do something to help with both of those issues so she developed the Aim2CureJM Challenge.
Julie’s motivation is contagious. I reflected on my family, our health, and couldn’t help but to get involved.
The Aim2CureJM Challenge is one way you can help to increase awareness about JDM and raise funds for the Cure JM Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is dedicated to finding a cure for JM.
The Aim2CureJM Challenge is fun, it’s versatile, and it is as challenging as you want it to be. It is also full of symbolism that Julie worked in to help raise awareness.
The Course of Fire and it’s Many Meanings
Last night on the way to a school play, my 11-year-old said, “Dad, She is so creative.” She said it like I heard the start of the conversation she had in her head.
I prodded, “Who is creative?”
“Julie. I never would have thought of all the meanings she put into the Aim to Cure Drill.”
She is right. Julie is creative and her creativity makes the drill that much more meaningful. That was one of the first thoughts I had after I previewed the drill (and wiped the tears out of my eyes.)
The number 23 is found in several aspects of the drill. Juvenile dermatomyositis has 23 letters and February, 23 is Rare Disease Day. So there are 23 rounds in the drill total and 23 sides on the shapes included on the target.
Strings of Fire
The drill is made up of 5 strings of fire. The last string is 3 rounds and the rest are 5. This signifies the hope of remission from JDM in 3-5 years.
String 1: 5 rounds into the pentagon.
The pentagon is the largest of the shapes so you should be able to shoot it the fastest, but you can’t skimp on the accuracy. The symbolism is the need for education so that doctors can make a fast and accurate diagnosis.
Strings 2 and 3:
String 2: 3 rounds into the circle and 2 into the square.
String 3: 2 rounds into the square, 2 rounds into the circle, 1 round into the triangle.
These two strings represent all the different challenges that children and their families struggle with when living life with JDM. Some of those struggles are harder than others.
String 4: 1 round into each shape on the target.
When it comes to a challenge like JDM not everything is forward progress. As you are working through all the challenges toward the goal, remission, there can be setbacks. This is the only string that revisits the pentagon. The beginning. Flare-ups are one of the obstacles JDM presents, For kids with JDM, this can feel like starting all over again.
String 5: 3 rounds into the star.
The star is the goal. Remission, or better yet a cure. Right now there is no cure for JDM so the three shots into the star represent reaching remission in 3 years.
How to shoot the challenge
You can shoot from the holster, or from low ready. You can decide to start at 3 yards, 5 yards, or if you like to feel ashamed you could try to deal with that little triangle from 7 yards… You could even decide to shoot with your bolt action hunting rifle.
You can shoot the Aim2CureJM challenge any way you like. The important thing is to shoot the drill. Then spread the word. Post up how you shot the drill and your results here in the comments. Share it on social media with #Aim2CureJM and a link to Juliegolob.com/curejm. Maybe even goad some of your friends into taking the challenge, you know Ice bucket challenge style…
The most important thing to do is to shoot it and then share it. If you have the means, a donation would be helpful as well. If for some reason you can’t shoot the drill you can simply head to bit.ly/aim2curejm and make a donation. Might I suggest $23?
Maybe Most Important of All
Take some time to reflect on your blessings and send some positive thoughts towards those that might be struggling (with JDM or otherwise.) Gun owners care and when we unite together there is noth9ing we can’t accomplish!
The Mothership – Julie’s JDM Landing page.
The CureJM Foundation – check them out they do good work.
I shot the drill twice on camera.
You can find the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 version here.
I also shot it with the Springfield Armory Hellcat.
I wrote about this same topic at GunMagWareHouse and GunsHolstersandGear. Each article might have a bit of insight from a different angle. Consider reading those articles and maybe sharing them on your social media channels.
Julie has been on the SSA Podcast a bunch of times. If you want to get to know her a bit better, here is her most recent appearance.