On the day on which my friend, Kay Keller, and I went down to the mayor’s office in Richmond for the signing of the proclamation, Mayor Blair confessed: “You know, at first I wasn’t going to do this. ... We get so many of these requests and I’d never heard of this… this…. hemochromatosis. … But then, last Sunday, I was still in bed and I heard some woman talking about it on the radio and that convinced me!”
I still haven’t been able to confess that I was the woman. I can only be grateful for the co-incidence: for the fact that the tape was played a second time. Once Richmond had given the stamp of approval, other corporations followed suit and, in due course proclamations were signed by the mayors of almost every city in Canada; even by the Government of British Columbia.
Letters to mayors
There were times when I could not believe that I could have let myself and my friends in for such a far-fetched, seemingly hare-brained scheme. Strangely, however, no one seemed terribly taken aback and no one tried to talk me out of it. Kay, sympathetic of the fact that we were housebound, had taken over the banking for the society and had become a regular visitor since Tom’s heart attack. When she arrived one day to find me puzzling over the most efficient way in which to personalize the hundreds of letters which would have to be sent to mayors, she picked up one I had already written, studied it for a minute and then said: “I’ll do it!”
She did, too. I would spend a few hours every morning at the library, scribbling down the names and addresses of more mayors, and in the afternoon Kay would fetch them. By next day each new batch was ready for mailing.
Altogether 523 new diagnoses resulted from that observance. The first nine subjects all worked in or in close association with the offices of mayors to whom we had written. Not one of those people would have known that HH was hereditary and none would have had themselves checked had it not been for our writing. One woman, whose brother-in-law had died of hemochromatosis, had considered the similarity of her husband’s symptoms “pure co-incidence!” Nine people meant nine families to be monitored.