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Challenge… we hear that word a lot in the OCD and related disorders community.

People living with OCD are challenged daily to face their fears. It takes determination and a great deal of courage.

iStock_000001174646XSmallOCD can make daily life difficult for adults, but imagine what it is like to have OCD as a child. You, your parents, your teachers, and friends… even your pediatrician may not know what is wrong. The compulsive behaviors take up a great deal of time and energy, making it more difficult to complete tasks such as homework or chores, or even to enjoy your relationships with friends and family. Imagine living in a suspended state of the unknown… never knowing what is wrong and perhaps waiting years before you finally receive a diagnosis of OCD or a related disorder.

Two weeks ago, our new guest blogger Jackie Lee Summers shared her story of finally finding help for her OCD through cognitive behavioral therapy. We asked to tell us more about her childhood experience with OCD, and she wrote:

“You’d be shocked to hear just how similar my Minnesota hometown was to Mayberry….  We didn’t lock our homes or cars, everyone knew everyone else, and the whole town showed up each Friday night for high school football.  My parents are the funniest, most generous people I know, and I grew up on a farm just outside of town.  I should have been the happiest girl on planet earth. But I wasn’t. I had undiagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder from strep throat gone awry (PANDAS), and it stole the joy from my would-be charming life like the worst kind of bandit—one without a name.

Childhood should have been an enchanting time of growth, exploration, and discovery—and instead, I spent it in fear, anxiety, and outright terror.  I had a period of three years where I cried nearly every single night.  My parents didn’t know what was wrong or how to help, nor was the internet yet available with its wide access to helpful resources.  Even if it had been, what would they have searched: “our child thinks bad thoughts”?

 How many of you reading this blog can relate?

Jackie was lucky enough to eventually find proper treatment, but it was not until after 20 years of living with OCD. And her story is one that is echoed by so many others. Growing up is a challenge in its own right, but growing up with undiagnosed OCD is a challenge of monumental proportions.

It is because of stories like Jackie’s – and the estimated half million children in the US alone suffering with OCD – that the IOCDF has made pediatric OCD a priority in our programming. Last week, the IOCDF hosted the first-ever Pediatric Behavioral Therapy Training Institute to help train mental health professionals about how to diagnose and treat OCD in kids and teens. Later this fall, the IOCDF will officially launch our Pediatric Outreach Program to help educate family physicians and pediatricians about recognizing OCD and PANDAS symptoms in children. Both of these are vital programs in helping medical and mental health professionals accurately diagnose and effectively treat kids with OCD, so that children can have access to effective treatment early on.

But we need to do more. Here is the good news: I am writing today because the IOCDF has been presented with a different kind of challenge — one that is meant to help us stretch ourselves so that we can broaden our reach and help as many people possible. Recently, One of the IOCDF’s most loyal and steadfast supporters has presented the Foundation with a tremendous opportunity… and challenge to our supporters!

This individual has volunteered to match all fundraised dollars on a dollar-for-dollar basis if we receive it before October 31st — up to a total of $25,000 with all funds going to support the important Pediatric OCD Programs of the IOCDF.

Over the next few weeks, I will highlight on this blog many of the other important steps that the IOCDF is taking to help kids who are living with OCD and related disorders. However, we cannot continue to make these important steps without your support.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to DOUBLE your gift to the IOCDF. A gift of $100, can mean $200 or a gift of $500 can mean $1,000!

Your gift to our Pediatric Campaign for Hope can help other families cope successfully with the suffering, confusion, doubt, and fear that surrounds’ those living with or caring for someone with OCD or a related disorder.

Remember, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar — but only if we receive your donation by October 31st! You can make your gift easily online at:

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