Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lisa Saunders and her books and videos created to prevent congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV)

My daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1989 severely disabled by congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV). I didn't know I was putting my pregnancy at risk by working in daycare and kissing my toddler around the mouth and sharing food and cups with her.

Elizabeth's life for 16 years, along with CMV prevention tips, is told through photographs in this short video set to the song, "Voice for Sam," by Debra Lynn Alt, former lead singer of Rolling Stone magazine's band (Click here to watch it).

Although I ran a licensed daycare center in my home, nowhere in the licensing literature was I warned about CMV and the extra precautions a women of childbearing age should take. I hope that changes soon as daycare workers are still largely unaware they are at greater risk for contracting this disease.
In 2015, Connecticut (where I live) became one of the few states in the U.S. to pass congenital CMV legislation (my work with legislators was featured in this News 8 segment and in Cornell’s Alumni Magazine (Sept/Oct 2015).

I am the parent representative of the Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Foundation and author of several books, including, "Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV," which is currently being translated into Japanese by an organization raising awareness in Japan. I continue to write books containing CMV prevention education such as "Once Upon a Placemat: A Table Setting Tale" to remind families to refrain from sharing cups and utensils-- which is more important now that the CDC has removed those prevention suggestions from their website in 2016 (please contact the CDC to learn why!)

I created free, downloadable placemats featuring my placemat characters and CMV prevention along with a video introducing the characters and why moms shouldn't share cups and utensils with their children.
My Elizabeth died at the age of 16 during a seizure. I published my father's fairytale about losing a child, Surviving Loss: The Woodcutter's Tale, and include CMV prevention in that as well.

Please let me know how we can  help each other raise a CMV prevention message.


Lisa Saunders, author/speaker
Parent Representative, Congenital Cytomegalovirus Foundation
PO Box 389, Mystic, Connecticut 06355

Japanese news coverage about translating book, "Anything But a Dog! The perfect pet for a girl with congenital CMV," by Lisa Saunders into Japanese to teach Japanese families how to prevent disabilities cause by congenital CMV.