Tuesday, March 11, 2014

“Find a Way to Celebrate Each Day”: Doug Taylor Offers His Behind-the-Scence Look at Conference

With PHA’s 2014 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions quickly approaching, we thought it would be beneficial for the PH community to hear from a familiar face about some things to expect at Conference. Doug Taylor, a PH patient from South Carolina, is co-chair of the Patient/Family Led Session Subcommittee on our Conference Planning Committee. This means that not only is Doug attending Conference in Indianapolis, but he is also helping determine the different sessions that will be presented for all attendees! Along with his role in Conference, Doug is also a PHA Support Group Leader, a PHA PHriends email mentor and a volunteer with our New Patient Advisory Board.

We were able to ask Doug a few questions about his involvement with our 2014 International PH Conference and PHA. Read on to hear about Doug’s Conference experiences and what you can expect during the Patient/Family Led Sessions!

Kristie [PHA Publications Intern]: What is your experience with PHA’s International PH Conference?
Doug: I have attended three Conferences; the first was in Houston, Texas [in 2008].

K: What are some of your favorite moments from previous Conferences?
D: I had an incredible experience going into the first dinner plenary session in Houston. I was extremely stunned to see 1,200 people in the room! All of them were there because they had pulmonary hypertension, were caregivers for PH patients, were friends of PH patients or were in the healthcare or pharmaceutical professions dealing with PH patients. It was an unforgettable experience. I absolutely loved the opening plenary session in Orange County, Calif. [2010], about Dr. Frantz, Dr. Benza and Jessica Lazar, PA, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to promote PH awareness. At the 2012 Conference, I was able to meet three of the four founders of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, and their husbands. All of us owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to what they have accomplished!

K: What are you most excited for during our 2014 Conference?
D: I am most excited about everyone coming together! There is so very much from which to choose, but basically it all comes down to the people who attend. Our sense of "community" is what makes us strong and what helps us grow.

K: What can attendees expect for the Patient/Family Led Sessions during Conference?
D: The Patient/Family Led Sessions at the 2014 Conference will be a mix of old and new. This year, we have made a very good effort to tap panelists that have not sat on previous panels. We have also made an effort to emphasize the diversity of the PH community, such as the diversity of age, gender, associative diseases, geographic location, etc. We have tried to address the interests of Generation Hope, newly diagnosed patients, long-term survivors, families, and Spanish-speaking patients in the sessions we have planned. I would like to remind everyone that the Patient/Family Led Sessions are an opportunity for patients and family members to share ideas with each other.

K: Will you be bringing anyone along to this 2014 Conference?
D: My mom, Mary Jo, is my primary caregiver, and she will be coming with me to the 2014 Conference. She has attended the Conferences in Orlando [2012] and Orange County [2010].  Each time she has volunteered to help out. Not many people know it, but my mom was the very first official registrant for Conference 2014! I want to encourage everyone to volunteer to help out in some capacity. You would not believe how much volunteering enhances the Conference experience!

K: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the PHA community?
D: I would like to remind the PHA community that we are a "community.” We each individually have a terrible disease, but together, we share a common interest – to find a cure for pulmonary hypertension. While we search for that cure, we can help ourselves and each other with improving our daily lives. One way I work to improve my own daily life is to find something to enjoy in what could be a horrible day, week, month or year. I encourage all of you in the PHA community to look for something good to get you through the rough times we all face. Find a way to celebrate each day!

Posted by:
Kristie Link

Publications Intern, PHA

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