Thursday, August 1, 2013

2013 Hunter’s Hope Symposium

Our family just returned from the Hunter's Hope Family and Medical Symposium held at the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, NY. Hunter’s Hope Foundation was established in 1997 by Jim Kelly (NFL Hall of Fame) and his wife Jill, after their infant son, Hunter (2/14/97—8/5/05) was diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy.

The annual Family & Medical Symposium brings together scientists, doctors, families, strategic partners, staff, board members and volunteers for a week of sharing information, learning, and supporting one another. Prominent researchers and families affected by Krabbe and other Leukodystrophies from around the world attend the Symposium to gain in-depth information about Leukodystrophies, learn about the latest developments in scientific research and medical care, identify available resources, and develop support systems.

This was our first time attending the event and it was a wonderful experience. We got the chance to meet, and learn from, other families from all over the world who are in the same situation as us. It was also a great opportunity for just the three of us to get away and spend some quality time together.  The venue was breathtakingly beautiful, the weather was perfect and Reesa was comfortable and relaxed the whole trip (including the plane rides).  It was also an emotional and inspirational experience as we learned the stories of families who've lost their children and those who've been dealing with these diseases for many years.  We learned how lucky we are to have the Hunter's Hope network as a resource.  We met families who lost children to this disease decades ago, when there was no such support system.  It is amazing how motivated and dedicated the Universal Newborn Screening advocates are and the progress they're making in many states.  We listened to researchers from the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute discuss the progress they're making towards learning about and curing diseases that affect the Myelin in the brain, like Krabbe disease.

Best of all, we met some really cool people and Reesa met some friends that are just like her...perfect! 

Here are some pictures from the trip:

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