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Alpha Stories

The grim diagnosis…

The grim diagnosis…
Friday, March 16, 2012
Alpha-1 hasn’t kept these liver kids from living full, satisfying lives In the summer of 1986, Mike and Julia Berger had their first child, Jake. Jake had yellow skin and eyes, and his bilirubin count was very high. Family and friends in their home town of LaGrange, IL, encouraged Mike and Julia, saying things like, “Jaundice is very common in infants,” and...
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A One-Minute Alpha

A One-Minute Alpha
Friday, March 16, 2012
As chairman and chief executive officer of Clear Channel Entertainment — the almost $2 billion subsidiary of media giant Clear Channel Worldwide — Brian Becker doesn’t waste a minute: actually, he has his days scheduled almost down to the split-second. And when he talks, he makes every word count. His sentences seem to come in right to- the-point bursts. He speaks in the...
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Brian Jackson urges family testing and awareness

Brian Jackson urges family testing and awareness
Friday, March 16, 2012
Brian Jackson, 49, of Baltimore, MD, spent 20 years loving his work as a forklift operator – but he can’t do that job anymore, or play sports and was even recently told by a doctor he may someday need a lung transplant. Jackson is an Alpha-1 carrier – the MZ genotype. He is living proof that Alpha-1 carriers should never consider themselves safe from the lung diseases that...
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Canadian Alphas: the challenges are greater

Canadian Alphas: the challenges are greater
Friday, March 16, 2012
In 2001, a small group of Canadian Alphas, carriers and caregivers decided that something needed to be done about the lack of information and support for Alphas in Canada. The most obvious difficulty facing them: a tiny Alpha-1 population in a huge country. Geographically, Canada is larger than the United States, but has barely more than a tenth of the population. For that reason, nearly...
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Alpha-1 Caregiver steps up to lead support group

Alpha-1 Caregiver steps up to lead support group
Friday, March 16, 2012
Barb Speers, the wife of a lung-affected Alpha, knows firsthand the stressful role of an Alpha-1 caregiver after her husband, Ed Speers, was diagnosed with Alpha-1 in 1997 and put on oxygen full time. When an online email list for Alpha-1 caregivers came to a stop, Speers and some others wanted to continue keeping in touch. This is what led to Alpha-1 CARE. Speers is the founder of the...
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Curtis Hamilton’s granddaughter gives him a reason to live

Curtis Hamilton’s granddaughter gives him a reason to live
Friday, March 16, 2012
It was 11 o’clock on the night of Curtis Hamilton’s 57th birthday when he heard a knock on the door of his home in Richland, Mississippi. His son Curtis Jr. and daughter-in-law Wendy were there. They told him, oddly enough, they had come to borrow his camcorder. Oh yeah, and first they needed to make sure it worked. They set up the camera and pushed the “Record”...
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The Family that Tests Together

The Family that Tests Together
Friday, March 16, 2012
How much do you know? How much do you want to know? Once you know more, what will you do? When a family member is diagnosed with a genetic condition like Alpha-1, these are some of the questions that arise about family testing. For Scott Casmer, project manager and father of two girls — one of them diagnosed with Alpha-1 — there’s really no conflict. “My wife Susan...
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The Human Touch

The Human Touch
Friday, March 16, 2012
Whenever Cathey Horsak feels down and discouraged, she rereads some words that she clipped from a magazine long ago. When she finds Alphas or their family members who feel the same way, she shares the clipping with them. The words come from the writer David Friend: “If there is any real purpose for any of us, it is to somehow enhance each other’s humanity to love, to touch...
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