HOUSTON, Feb. 17, 2013 – TheJust Ask Foundation and California NF announced today that Ricki Lake has been named the recipient of the 2013 Reggie Bibbs Humanitarian Award for her work promoting awareness of neurofibromatosis.
The award is given to an individual who has improved the lives of those challenged by neurofibromatosis, (NF) by making NF an important part of their lives.
“Those of us who have NF,” noted Just Ask Foundation founder, Reggie Bibbs, “are very sensitive to how we appear to people who don’t know about our disorder. It is so wonderful when we meet a special human being, like Ricki, who has embraced us and made us part of her life.”
The award will be presented to Ricki Lake by noted neurofibromatosis scholar, Vincent Riccardi, MD, Medical Director ofNF California and past Director, Research Cytogenetics Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
Ricki was first made aware of neurofibromatosis when she met a brave little girl, Tori, and her mother, Michelle, during a taping of Dancing with the Stars in which Ricki was competing.
Since then, Ricki and Tori’s family have formed a special relationship as Tori has appeared on The Ricky Lake Show several times to tell the world about her battle with NF.
Dr. Riccardi commented that “before and during the taping, I could see the special attachment Ricki had made with Tori and her family.
On a recent episode, Ricky introduced Tori to the audience by saying, “I want you to meet this sweet little girl. She is the most inspirational person in my life and I’m so excited to introduce my friend Tori. She is the bravest little girl I know.”
Later in the show, Ricky promised Tori, “We’re going to do everything we can to raise awareness and find a cure for this disease.”
Tori suffers from NF-1, or neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition which causes tumors to grow along nerve fibers in the body. According to Tori’s doctor, Dr. Riccardi, who also appeared on the show, kids with NF-1 can lead realistically normal lives.
Tori’s mother, Michelle, added later on Tori’s website, www.torigaga.com, “We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to talk about NF on Ricki’s show. So grateful. We would love for you to join us on Facebook or on Tori’s website. I would love to feature stories about you or your children who are bravely fighting NF. We can all learn from each other and find a cure! Please email me at [email protected] if you’d like to talk! Thank you for watching and thank you, thank you, thank you to Ricki and the Ricki Lake show!”
NF California is the premier California NF patient support group, assisting the more than 13,000 persons with all types of NF in California. Unlike other NF organizations that focus only on children and tumors, NF California emphasizes all age groups and the many non-tumor problems.
The Just Ask Foundation represents the resourcefulness of one person with NF1 – Reggie Bibbs. Over his lifetime he often sensed that people were “put off” by the disfigurement resulting from the neurofibroma involving the entire left side of his face. He sensed that many people were distressed by his appearance and he often felt that if they would just ask him about his condition, it would be easier – for him and for them. Thus, he began a campaign to encourage people to “Just Ask!” him about his NF.