The banners are down, boxes packed, and I’m feeling the satisfaction and relief of a successful PKD National Convention. As I reflect on the long days of planning, the thousands of emails sent, and the nights and weekends put in, I am so honored, so grateful to be the person who gets to bring this community together. For every single person touched by PKD – those who came to the Convention, those who wished they could have, and those who are just finding out they should come – this is for you. Bringing this community of amazing, strong, passionate, dedicated, supportive advocates together shows me that all the work put in, and all the work yet to come, is nothing compared to what you do every single day as you fight this disease. You deserved this weekend to be with others just like you.
In the short time I’ve been with the Foundation (2 ½ years), I have heard the term “PKD Family” a lot. This Convention truly does represent that term – your family is not just who you share blood with. It also extends to the group of people who understand you, support you, and hold you up. The entire weekend felt so much like a family reunion – from the doctors and researchers to the attendees and staff, this weekend was about so much more than learning about your disease. It was about connecting, making new friends, seeing old friends, and remembering that you are part of a wider network of people who have your back.
Of course, there is a long list of people to thank – PKD Foundation Board of Trustees for making the Convention a priority, staff for helping pull it off, speakers and researchers who donated their time to educate us (special shout-out to Terry Watnick for the hours she spent working with me to set the agenda and secure speakers!), our amazing Chapter volunteers who jumped in to help where we needed it, the sponsors for providing the financial support to make it feasible, exhibitors, amazing staff at Disney and so many more. It truly took every single person being dedicated and committed to their role. What an honor to work with all of them to serve you. I truly appreciate the opportunity to serve this community – thank you.
Research and Education Manager
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. –Helen Keller