Saturday, June 23, 2012

PH Community Connects at Meet-ups

By Nicole Northrop, PHA Roving Reporter

Friday morning, the Crystal Ballroom was filled with Conference attendees, all looking forward to meeting people just like themselves. As attendees walked in, they saw tables with different colored tablecloths throughout the room. Each table was labeled with one of eight Meet-up categories: “Caregivers,” “First-time Conference Attendees,” “Generation Hope,” “Families of Children and Teens with PH,” “PHA Community,” “Newly Diagnosed,” “Patients with Associated Illnesses,” and “Facebook and PH Online Community.”

The “Caregivers” table had several people who currently care for their loved ones. Wendy Foss, caregiver for her husband, Jerry, says that caregiving, although it’s stressful and tiring, is fulfilling because you are caring for the ones you love. The “First-time Conference Attendees” table was quite large, as many people have never been to a PH Conference before. One attendee, Elizabeth Rost, is attending Conference for the first time even though she has had PH for four years. The “Generation Hope” table had several young adults standing around it, all talking about PH. The “Families of Children and Teens with PH” table was populated with children enjoying the arts and crafts provided at the table. Rayni Worley, a 15-year-old at the table, has had this illness since she was 4.

The “Newly Diagnosed” table was populated with some patients who have only had PH for a short while before Conference. The “Patients with Associated Illnesses” table had several people who deal with other illnesses along with dealing with the stresses of PH. The “Facebook and PH Online Community” was populated with many different people, since many people use the PH online communities.

All in all, the Meet-ups were a success. Attendees got to meet several people who may be very similar to them. Many people seemed to be having a great time, and these same people look forward to continuing to have a great time during the rest of Conference.

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