Dancing for Joy Unites Us All at National Conference, and Beyond

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by Joe MacDonald |

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I love the final-night event of a national bleeding disorder conference. Different groups invite community members to play games, the meal is remarkable, and the dance floor begs for us all to gather and celebrate. After the highly informative events offered by leaders in the bleeding disorder community, friends from around the country celebrate friendship and love. We smile and laugh, giving thanks that we came together to rejoice.

The event offered at the Hemophilia Federation of America’s (HFA) annual conference in San Antonio proved no exception.

As my family took our seats with our New Mexico blood brothers and sisters, I couldn’t help but look at the dance floor. I thought back to the old days when Cazandra, my wife, and I led the cheers and the fun as we moved around the area, grooving to whatever the DJ chose to play. My group usually left the event after everyone else. Many nights we continued to talk with friends, hoping to share a few more precious moments.

As I sat in my chair in San Antonio, a dear friend tapped me on the shoulder. “Why aren’t you out on the dance floor?” she asked me. “It’s time to cut a rug!” She grabbed my arm and led me to the other dancers.

I stood there for a moment, unsure if I had what it takes at the ripe old age of 58. I quickly looked at Cazandra, uncertain of what I should do. Finally, she motioned for me to join the others and have a good time.

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I started to move to the beat, unsure and afraid to make a fool of myself, but the more I tapped the rhythm with my foot, the more confident I became. As I started to move, I remembered the feeling of joy that captivated me in my younger years. I allowed the inner performer in me to come out and live among all my blood brothers and sisters. The euphoria of allowing myself to participate in this moment of happiness overwhelmed me as I continued gathering strength.

After we finished the evening, I sat down and thought about what had happened. My ability to get involved in a moment of joy-filled fun reminded me that too often, I get overwhelmed with the business of life, the different roles that I play, and the caregiving of sons with hemophilia. I forget to dance and allow myself to experience happiness. Too often, life presents challenges so overwhelming that it is hard to breathe.

Especially in the roughest of moments, we must find time to raise our hands to the sky and rediscover the restoration of our souls. We must find a way to dance.

When I left San Antonio, I gave thanks for remembering the things that bind us. I returned home, promising to find those things that recharge my soul. I may not find joy on a dance floor throughout the week, but there are ways to reconnect with my spirit. I hope to prioritize the things that allow me to reconnect with the deepest part that yearns to be happy.

Life can become daunting when dealing with a bleeding disorder. Sometimes waves come crashing down around us, and we fall, wondering if we have what it takes to get up. But if we listen hard enough, we hear the still small voice inviting us to embrace hope and get up and dance.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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