Ms. Lord begins the interview by recalling her early experience with her daughter and nephew who were both diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, but experienced very different types of end-of-life care. Ms. Lord, her husband, and her daughter had a pediatrician that was willing to work and assemble a care team for the family and ultimately provide a rewarding end-of-life experience. Ms. Lord's nephew's pediatrician was not similarly equipped and his family experienced stresses, particularly at his end of life, because of that. After reflecting on her daughter's journey, Ms. Lord wanted the level of care she experienced to be accessible for anyone with Tach-Sachs, thus began her career in advocacy. Ms. Lord then describes how she and her husband and brother- and-sister-in-law were able to bring all of their familial support together to develop the non-profit, The Lord Foundation, to fund research of Tay-Sachs and the advancement of pediatric palliative care. Ms. Lord's background in television and video production then aided her in completing two multimedia projects, Cameron's Arc, a project with the American Academy of Pediatrics about delivering palliative care from a community-based pediatrician, and Parenting a Child with a Life-threatening Illness, a resource for families affected by Tay-Sachs, GM1, Sandhoff and Canavan disease. Ms. Lord was motivated by positive feedback from clinicians using these movies to teach the new generation of clinicians. She soon left her job to focus full time on developing the Courageous Parents Network (CPN). Ms. Lord says the scope of CPN was initially just for parents, to promote palliative care and help parents hear from other parents through videos, but it has since grown into a large and reputable educational platform for parents and clinicians alike. Ms. Lord then goes on to describe that one of the primary goals of Courageous Parents Network is to orient and empower families of children with life-threatening diseases as advocates and decision-makers for their child, and to promote palliative care as critical to helping make that possible. Ms. Lord concludes the interview by describing a series of goals she has; for other parents and families, to know that they always have options and they are not alone; for clinicians, to foster the skillset of palliative care to be a holistic provider.
Pediatric Palliative Care Oral History Project
Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis
"Blyth Lord Oral History." (2019). OH154-S23-i01, Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University in St. Louis.