As stories get passed down over generations, the words—their very meanings—can change. Such is the case with Rudolph, the beloved children’s story and Christmas song. Here’s the true story of Rudolph behind the tale.
“All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”
Yes, people—even reindeer—may be ostracized by their peers for being different. It’s true that Rudy, as some called him, had a shiny red nose. But why?
Here’s the cold truth: Rudolph had Raynaud’s!
The barn where all the reindeer gathered to await Santa’s journey was freezing! Rudolph was hypersensitive to cold. He was stressed too! Would he be able to reach all the homes of well-behaved boys and girls on Christmas Eve?
As he fretted, all his extremities turned blue. Not just his nose but also his hoofs, ears and tail. The pain was excruciating! No one noticed except Mrs. Claus. “Oh my goodness!” She exclaimed. “You must have Raynaud’s!”
Mrs. Claus knew what it was because she herself had Raynaud’s phenomenon. The wise doctor at the South Pole Medical Center had seen it many times. He advised Mrs. Claus to stay indoors as much as possible, wear layers, and take precautions before venturing out.
So she ministered to Rudolph, the blue nosed reindeer, with warm blankets and boiled ferns and shrubs. As he started to recover, his blue hoofs, tail and nose turned red. The throbbing pain was easing.
Just then, he heard Santa call out, “Ho ho ho, time to go!” Rudolph ran to join the others.
That’s when Blitzen, his bullying big brother, pointed to Rudy’s red nose and laughed. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid and Donner joined in the laughter and ridicule.
Rudolph was undeterred. “You can make fun of me all you want,” he said. “There are millions of children out there waiting for us. I’m putting on my warm boots and earmuffs and I’m joining you.”
And he did.
And that is the true, original and unadulterated story of Rudolph the Raynaud’s Reindeer.
We thought we’d have a little fun this holiday season by imagining the backstory of the much beloved reindeer who was the subject of ridicule by other reindeer because he looked different.
Many Frosties that we feature in our Patient Spotlight series tell us they’ve been called out for their bluish fingers or for wearing jackets and gloves when others are in tank tops and sandals. They’re told they look like the Michelin Man; that they have Zombie hands; that they look like a Smurf. Generally these comments are meant in “good fun,” as they say, but the teasing can be harsh. “Why don’t you just wrap yourself up in an electric blanket,” a Raynaud’s sufferer was told by an irritated co-worker when she turned up the heat in their workplace.
“They don’t understand how painful my Raynaud’s attacks are,” we often hear. “They think I’m just being difficult. How can I make them understand?”
We’re Making Progress, But It’s Not Enough
We are making great strides in raising awareness about this very real, very painful disorder with our limited resources and all-volunteer team, but it’s just not enough to achieve the impact Raynaud’s deserves. We can’t do this job alone.
We Put Every Dollar to Work
As an all-volunteer organization, there are no salaries, no overhead, no hefty administrative costs. All of our resources are devoted to supporting the Raynaud’s community. Every dollar you donate will go directly to helping our cause.
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