Message from the Chair
I am writing this message as we are in the final stages of planning for our 2017 National Education Conference in Chicago. National Conferences are one of my favorite annual Alpha-1 events. My wife Ruth and I attended our first meeting in Minneapolis in April 1992, three months after my diagnosis. I think there were 50 or so at that meeting, but we left with a wealth of information, new friends, warm feelings of “we are family” and confidence that the Association (at that time) and our industry partners were going to continue to support Alphas and their families. Since then we have missed only two meetings. Attendance has now grown to more than 600 and the meetings are packed with top quality speakers, events, exhibitors and entertainment. If you can’t attend this year, make plans to attend in 2018.
At our February Board Meeting, we realized that John Walsh, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, was not going to be able to return to work. We dissolved his position and elected him to the Board as Director Emeritus. Sadly, in March, he passed away. He will be missed terribly, but it is now our job to fulfill his, and the Foundation’s, primary mission – to cure Alpha-1. The Board of Directors and staff are fully committed and are working diligently to achieve this goal.
We have already held numerous Memorial Services for John and will dedicate the Saturday evening dinner at the National Conference to remembering all that John has done for the Foundation and Alpha-1 community. It will be streamed live to anyone who is unable to attend.
I want to thank the Board, staff and members of our community for their support and hard work to bring us through the most challenging time the Foundation has ever faced. The future is bright; we will reach our goal.