Saturday, June 23, 2012

Attendees Mix and Mingle at the Meet-and-Greet

By Nicole Northrop, PHA Roving Reporter

Walking into the Crystal Ballroom at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld®, one would see many booths, delicious food, eager people, and fun activities. These aspects are what made the Patient and Family Meet-and-Greet at PHA’s 10th International Conference so enjoyable. The many people crowded into the ballroom were sporting a paper carnation. Each carnation was a different color to represent the many regions in which these people live. Every person, patient, caregiver and medical professional alike, seemed to be enjoying Conference. The ballroom was filled with happy chattering with people they had met.

Everyone I interviewed seemed to be enjoying Conference very much so far. Several people were looking forward to the different aspects of Conference. Stephanie Anderson, a patient with primary PH, said that she was looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends. Her caregiver and sister, Stacy Hise, was looking forward to hanging out with her sister.

Fun and food were all around. One could dine on such things as chocolate-covered strawberries and lemonade. There were Minute to Win It games, in which participants had one minute to complete such tasks as bouncing a balloon in the air, navigating cotton balls to a bowl using their Vasoline-covered nose, and solving a puzzle of cut-up cereal boxes. There was also a table in which a woman would paint your face or make you a wonderful balloon animal. After receiving a makeover and a balloon hat, one could go over to the photo booth and take pictures with several props. A raffle was also held, in which several people won such prizes as artwork, tickets to theme parks, and chocolate.

The whole event was delightful. As the multitudes of people walked around booth to booth, they got to experience fun, food, and friends, all while dealing with the everyday struggles of PH.

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