Looking Back at the Good and Bad Moments of 2020

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by Halsey Blocher |

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Nearly a month into 2021, I think it’s safe to say we’re all glad to have left 2020 behind us. It certainly wasn’t an easy year. Its hardships likely will go down in the history books.

Around the globe, we saw a devastating pandemic, raging wildfires, and a record-breaking hurricane season. We lost beloved icons such as Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, Chadwick Boseman, Alex Trebek, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We saw civil unrest and political turmoil.

When I look back at life in 2020, I see there were rough patches. I’m not going to ignore that fact. But I also want to recognize the bright spots.

Following are a few of the highlights for me from last year.

We got a new puppy named Thor

A while back, I wrote about Thor, a puppy my family adopted. We were smitten with him from day one, and he is still very much a joy to us all. Even the cat secretly likes him. (You didn’t hear that from me.) Thor has found a home in our hearts.

Thor, looking adorable while snuggling on Halsey’s bed. (Courtesy of Halsey Blocher)

I visited with my best friend

My best friend, Kim, moved to Texas several years ago, but frequently tries to return to Indiana, where I live, to visit with family and friends. We thought the pandemic might prevent us from seeing each other during her summer visit, but we managed to get creative.

While crafting, lunch dates, and hugs will have to wait a little longer, socially distant driveway hangouts are still a safe option. Simply sitting in the sunshine and chatting with Kim made for a perfect day. And it is far better than not getting to see her at all.

From left, Halsey and Kim soak up the summer sunshine during a socially distant driveway visit. (Courtesy of Halsey Blocher)

I attended my first drive-in concert

If you’ve been reading my column for a while, you might have noticed that I like music, and I tend to have a strong connection to lyrics. Although it was a necessary safety measure, I was disappointed when many live music events were canceled. Yet, creativity prevailed once more, as it turns out that drive-in movie theaters also are ideal for hosting safe outdoor concerts.

My family and I attended one on Independence Day. Getting out of the house together that day was a treat, and watching my favorite band perform was the icing on the cake.

Halsey enjoys her favorite band, for King & Country, on July 4, 2020. (Courtesy of Halsey Blocher)

My little brother graduated from high school

This was probably one of my favorite days, not just of 2020, but of my entire life. Watching my brother, Lucas, accomplish his goals always fills me with pride, and this was no exception. Lucas put a lot of time and energy into obtaining his high school diploma, and I loved seeing him be rewarded for his hard work and dedication.

Halsey and Lucas celebrate Lucas’ high school graduation last July. (Courtesy of Halsey Blocher)

I attended a virtual SMA conference

The annual Cure SMA Conference had never been virtual before. I didn’t know what to expect from this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The virtual conference allowed the SMA community to easily gather together to learn and connect from anywhere in the world.

It was so popular that many of the featured events have continued. Cure SMA is still hosting educational webinars, and young adults with SMA are regularly meeting up for video chats, trivia nights, and book clubs.

Holding the conference virtually not only gave us the opportunity to come together for a few days during the summer, but it also created a gateway for us to keep in touch and maintain our friendships.

A new SMA treatment was approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Evrysdi (risdiplam) in August brought the number of SMA treatment options to a grand total of three! It is also the first treatment I have been able to receive.

Witnessing the creation of these treatments has been incredible, and getting to benefit from one of them is equally as incredible. What I have gained from this medication may seem small, but progress of any kind is always a big deal for someone with SMA. Simply putting an end to further regression is a huge win.

Halsey’s first Evrysdi delivery arrives, making for an exciting day.  (Courtesy of Halsey Blocher)

It’s important to remember the challenges we face — in 2020 and all other years — so that we can learn and grow from them. But I hope that we can choose to intentionally seek the good moments and not allow them to be diminished by the bad ones.

What were some highlights from your 2020? Please share in the comments below.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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