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Sacred Spark is the compelling, true story of a child affected by mercury poisoning, and his minister-mom’s decade-long battle to restore the light in her son’s eyes. It is also the inspiring story of Reverend Sykes’ work with the United Methodist Church to pass the first global resolution advocating the elimination of mercury from medicine, a nascent social justice movement on par with historical faith-based campaigns against child labor and slavery. With pragmatism and compassion, Sacred Spark calls for putting the well-being of children first.
Through Sacred Spark’s unflinchingly honest, first-person account, parents and physicians demanding safer vaccines will find clarity to support their informed choices as well as inspiration and guidance to become advocates for children. Woven seamlessly into the book’s engrossing narrative are Rev. Sykes’ victories in appropriate and landmark biomedical treatments for her son, the success of empowered parents to enact state bans on mercury and to approach Attorney Generals across the country, attempts to find precious allies against a corrupt and protected industry, and her family’s lawsuit defeat against a pharmaceutical company.
As a Princeton Theological Seminary graduate and minister of 19 years, Rev. Sykes inspires the reader to go beyond compromised scientific studies and profit-driven political debates, and examine the mercury/autism issue through the first-hand experience of a mother and the faith and conviction of a minister. Sacred Spark ultimately teaches us that it is ordinary people who ignite the fire of reform.
An Excerpt from Chapter 3: Chelation
It was perfectly white as far as the eye could see. Wesley, whom I held in my arms, sensed he stood at the brink. There at the edge, where identifiable outlines and hues disappeared, he clung to me with his arms about my neck and his legs wrapped about my waist. His physical proximity, his closeness, his touch, was so unusual in these days. When I did experience them, it was because Wesley was experiencing great fear. Too, he was cold. He was cold because he was naked. And he did not understand how his mother could be so cruel.
There were tears on my cheeks. Just when I thought I’d become accustomed to them, the torrent seared my face again. I had always planned to be so happy, and such a good mother. And now, I knew, in these moments, I only terrified my child. Truth be told, I terrified myself also. I tried too hard to comprehend the enormity of my life, lived its length, with Wesley’s autism. I tried to comprehend the daily struggle to remain sane while my child suffered sporadic and indescribable agony. Autism instructed my soul in desperation. There were times I wondered if my spirit and mind could withstand the strain. There were times that Wesley’s panicked reactions convinced me that neither of us could. This was one of those moments.
His panic, like so many other things, was an enigma. I was oblivious to the oblivion he perceived. I knew only that I had one immutable goal in mind for this cataclysmic moment and that was to give my autistic son a bath. After Seth and I finally succeeded in wrestling our son into the tub, we sat upon the ceramic tile, restraining Wesley by the shoulders to keep him in the water, and stared at each other, exhausted. How could it be that giving our son a bath had become so impossible? We did not yet understand the terror now in Wesley’s soul because we had not yet grasped the havoc that mercury had wrought in his brain.
Once Mary Megson, M.D., made her diagnosis, once she boldly decided to risk her standing and her medical career to speak the truth to me, the course of treatment before us was clear. Wesley’s body had been injected with poison. The preservative in his childhood vaccines, which he received from birth to two years of age, and in my Rho(D) shot, which I received when I was 28 weeks pregnant with him, was Thimerosal, almost fifty percent mercury by weight. The mercury injected into my son as part of these FDA approved drugs would remain in his body, wreaking havoc, unless Seth and I chose to treat him, and pull it out with chemical compounds designed to bind with the mercury. The process of extracting it was called chelation.