I learned there that people with rare diseases may have seen more people with the disease in their own family than most or any researcher has, ever. They become visual experts, the same expertise that baseball players develop for recognizing pitches unconsciously. So I guess none of the individual components of Jill’s feat felt impossible to me, but I absolutely just doubted that they had all come together in this woman who heard me yammering on Good Morning America about sports and genetics and decided to send a letter. I mean, the angle with Priscilla, that seemed pretty fanciful when I first saw it.
.. And, by the way, she did want to tell me that her local physician in Gowrie, Iowa—Dr. Adam Swisher—kept encouraging her. He wasn’t by any means a specialist in these rare diseases, but apparently recognized that she had developed some special knowledge, and just encouraged her to keep going. I think that meant a lot to her, and it came from her local doctor, not some of the national and international experts who had told her she was on the wrong track.