Thursday, March 20, 2014

Throwback: Ken Schmidt's Road to Conference 2006

At our 2006 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions in Houston, attendee and PH caregiver, Ken Schmidt, gave a recap of his involvement with PHA's Conferences since his wife's diagnosis in 1998. Our 2008 Conference was themed Roadmap to a Cure, so Ken told his story using road analogies. How fun is that?

Ken's wife, Joanne (left), participates
in the PHA Fashion Show at Conference
My road trip began in 1998 when my wife of only 5 years was diagnosed with PPH. Joanne’s brother had been diagnosed 3 years earlier with this awful disease and so Joanne was motivated to find as much information as she could about PH.

In 2000, Joanne was like a mid-sized sedan traveling the PH interstate, while I was just like a small U-haul trailer. Joanne found the PH map and headed out to Chicago, while I tagged along hoping to find useful items to carry back to Long Island. Joanne unhitched me at the male only caregivers session, which was co-led by Jerry Paton. Jerry was like a confident 18 wheel big rig. He had been traveling the PH interstate and offered us honesty, compassion, and hope. He told us there would be potholes, speed bumps, and slippery conditions ahead, but he also saw brand new roads being paved, that someday we would be traveling along.

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