On the surface, Victoria Jackson is the American Dream personified: from a troubled childhood and unfinished high school education, she overcame immeasurable odds to create a cosmetics empire valued at more than half a billion dollars. Married to Bill Guthy - self-made principal of infomercial marketing giant Guthy-Renker - Victoria's most treasured role is mother to three beautiful, beloved children, Evan, Ali, and Jackson. Suddenly, Victoria's dream life is broken as she begins to battle a mother's greatest fear. In 2008, her daughter, Ali, began experiencing unusual symptoms of blurred vision and an ache in her eye. Ali's test results led to the diagnosis of Neuromyelitis Optica. NMO is a little understood, incurable, and often fatal autoimmune disease that can cause blindness, paralysis, and life-threatening seizures, and afflicts as few as 20,000 people in the world. At the age of 14, Ali was given a terrifying prognosis of four to six years to live.
Saving Each Other begins just as Victoria and Bill learn of Ali's disease, starting them on a powerful journey to save their only daughter. They even brought together a team of more than 50 of the world's leading experts in autoimmune and NMO-related diseases to create the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation. Told in alternating viewpoints, Victoria and Ali narrate their very different journeys of coming to terms with the lack of control that neither mother nor daughter have over NMO, and their pioneering efforts and courage to take their fight to a global level. Bringing their story to light with raw emotion, humor, warmth, and refreshing candor, Saving Each Other is the extraordinary journey of a mother and daughter who demonstrate how the power of love can transcend our greatest fears, while at the same time battling to find a cure for the incurable.
Praise for Saving Each Other
You will be moved and inspired as you go on a journey with these two extraordinary women
As a woman, mother, and close friend of the authors, I find this story deeply moving on so many levels.
This is an irresistible book that inspires readers—and could reform experts.
a vivid reminder that there is nothing more powerful or enduring than the bond of mother and daughter
From the Kirkus Review
The story of a mysterious medical ailment that blindsided a tightly knit family.
Jackson, a successful cosmetics entrepreneur, writes in her prologue about surviving a turbulent, insecure childhood fraught with emotional neglect and exacerbated by a violent sexual assault she endured as a teenager. These experiences seem to have prepared her to deal with the sudden onset in her teenage daughter, Ali, of an extremely rare, crippling autoimmune disorder called Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disease, which attacks the optic nerve and the central nervous system. Ali’s eyesight and pain levels worsened, and she was given four or five years to live. Jackson shifted into “warrior mode” and began canvassing the Los Angeles medical community for answers. A stay at the Minnesota Mayo Clinic initiated several radical chemotherapy treatments, though each debilitating stage further compromised Ali’s youthful dreams of excelling on the tennis courts. Interwoven through mother’s and daughter’s individual accounts of shock, denial, resignation and eventual acceptance are lighter scenes in which Jackson appeals to holistic healers for alternative solutions to the needles and MRIs of traditional medicine. She leavens the unsettling details of her daughter’s daunting ordeal with a personal history of her romance with infomercial magnate Bill Guthy and her progression from Hollywood makeup artist to cosmetic guru. Fully immersing herself in Ali’s malady, Jackson became medically knowledgeable about an obscure disease and ultimately founded a charitable foundation for the education and eradication of NMO. The closing “Thriver’s Guide” by Ali provides a brief five-step plan for those coping with the ailment.
A compassionate mother-daughter memoir written with inspiration, empathy and hope.