Lorenzo's Oil

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Tia Martin
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Lorenzo’s Oil

ALD(also known as adrenoleukodystrophy) is a devastating rare disorder that breaks down myelin around your nerves. Myelin allows your nerves to function, but with this disorder, the break down may leave your mobility limited, or leave you fully paralyzed. ALD gets worse over time because your body cannot produce new myelin, but scientists are doing tests on shivering puppies to help them re-grow myelin.

This disease is still not fully understood. ALD is linked to the X chromosome. Scientists know this for a fact. Girls are only the carriers of this disorder while boys have the most severe form of it. Boys contract ALD between the ages of 4 and 8. ALD causes the body to not be able to break down long chain fatty acids. The cure for ALD is Lorenzo’s Oil. Some places do not consider this as the cure. These places still consider Lorenzo’s Oil to be an experimental drug, but it does reduce the count of very long chain fatty acids. It does not re-grow myelin. This loss, so far cannot be reversed. Lorenzo’s Oil is a mixture of two fats that have been extracted from olive oil and rapeseed oil. The cost of Lorenzo’s Oil is $56.00 for a 500 ml bottle. Not all health insurance companies cover the cost of Lorenzo’s Oil. This brings me to my statement: all health insurance companies should cover Lorenzo’s Oil.
Some parents may not be aware that their child has ALD. In its early forms, the child gets hard of hearing and bumps into things, much like little children do. But it worsens and their walking becomes impaired as well as their speech. After that, they loose their sight. By the time the parents of the infected child realize their child has ALD, it may be too late. They will know about it, but not be able to get the money in time to save their child’s eyesight, or even their life. If insurance companies covered the cost of Lorenzo’s Oil, then they wouldn’t have to worry about getting the money in time. You cannot control a disorder like ALD. You must act fast in order to save your child.

Lorenzo’s Oil costs quite a bit, 56 dollars to be exact. Some families may not be able to afford it. They may struggle just to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads. They may not have money to spare. Getting this oil is crucial for the survival of ALD victims. If a family cannot afford to pay that much for it, then they have no hope left. With Lorenzo’s Oil, it can stop ALD from turning fatal. If all health insurance companies covered Lorenzo’s Oil, they can help families who aren’t as fortunate as other families and help save a life.

ALD is a very rare disorder. Lorenzo’s Oil is not needed as often as Tylenol because not everyone has ALD. Health insurance companies do not cover Tylenol because it is cheep and it brings in a lot of money every year. All Tylenol does is help your head from hurting, not saving a life. So why treat Lorenzo’s Oil, something that can save a life, like a pain reliever? Many Americans use Tylenol, but not every person in the world uses Lorenzo’s Oil. Since ALD is so rare, health insurance companies need to go on and cover it because it isn’t raking in millions of dollars every year. Lorenzo’s Oil is far more important than Tylenol because it saves young children’s lives.
Now you know more about ALD and what cures it.

Now we all need to know if insurance companies have the heart to cover the cost of Lorenzo’s Oil to help save the lives of young children in need. It’s a race against time when you have ALD. Lorenzo Odone knows, as well as his father, Augusto Odone. Augusto and Michaela (Lorenzo’s mother who died due to lung cancer) raced to cure their only son. They couldn’t repair the damage that had been done, but they did stop ALD from claiming his life. Lorenzo is now 27 and can blink and wiggle his fingers to communicate. Some children are not this fortunate. Health insurance companies can make a difference and bring hope to those who need it most.

I wrote this as a persuasive letter this year in biology. I learned a great deal about ALD and what causes it. I chose to write about ALD because i hope one day, little boys wont have to get this disease and die from it. There is hope out there, but some have yet to find it.
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