Victoria Jackson doesn't need this weekend's retail sales to satisfy her shopping list. She can afford to spend, with her lucrative cosmetics business and a husband with a billion-dollar infomercial marketing firm.
They've already put $15 million toward their most important holiday gift, one that can't be wrapped or put under a Christmas tree, because it's not something from the mall or a boutique. It's the quest for a clean bill of health for their 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare, debilitating disease that has been -- until now -- virtually unknown and ignored by the medical community…
That's what happened to Jackson last year, when a pain in her daughter's eye landed them in a neurologist's office. The symptoms -- eye pain, fading colors, loss of vision in one eye -- were diagnosed as neuromyelitis optica, a disorder known as NMO that would have terrified Jackson if she had known then what it is.
"We spent spring break at the Mayo Clinic," she said, seeking advice from one of the few physicians who has extensively studied the disorder. She told that doctor, "You're doing research. I've got a checkbook. You and I are going to get to know each other."
LA Times by Sandy Banks, 11/30/09