A National Symposium Offers Us the Chance to Reconnect

Joe MacDonald avatar

by Joe MacDonald |

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Next month, April 21–23, the MacDonald family heads to San Antonio to attend the Hemophilia Federation of America’s 2022 Symposium. I cannot wait to see old friends and participate in educational sessions regarding upcoming treatments and services to the bleeding disorders community.

My wife, Cazandra, and I haven’t attended a national meeting in several years. In many ways, we feel disconnected from our community. This symposium provides us with many opportunities to rediscover our part in an incredible family of blood brothers and sisters.

While I’m excited about the upcoming meeting, I’m also happy that we’ll be taking our youngest son, Caeleb, to the forum. When my son last attended an annual symposium, he was small and didn’t fully appreciate the activities swirling around him. During this meeting, my 16-year-old young man has a chance to discover all that the community has to offer those living with bleeding disorders.

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I hope that he connects with young men his age and forms lifelong connections with those who understand what it is like to feel that strange tingling in a joint signaling an internal bleed. I want him to know that he’s not alone in his struggles and that people just like him look to find ways to thrive while living with a bleeding disorder.

With the support and encouragement of those around him, he may find a safe spot to share his complete self, hemophilia, and all the complications that go with it. With the strength of community, he may find his tribe.

Cazandra and I hope to have many conversations with long-lost friends, and we look forward to laughing and enjoying the company of those we hold dear. Nothing beats great margaritas, Mexican food, and mariachi music on the San Antonio River Walk.

My favorite part of our time with friends is to see the joy on Cazandra’s face as we recall times when we drank too much or conversations that must never see the light of day. We find strength in the faces that remind us that we’ll never live alone because the relationships we share help protect us in our darkest moments. This cherished group proves holy, set apart, always bringing light in a world surrounded by chaos.

We look forward to the endless possibilities that await us as we plan for our trip. It’s a great time to let go of the stresses that hold us and embrace the time to find joy in each other’s company.

Of course, we decided to take a road trip to San Antonio, full of singing and sharing laughs in the car. While we find it exciting to visit with old friends, the time that we are in the car with one another carries its humorous moments. As a result, we relive previous trips while creating new memories along the way.

Many amazing things can happen when rediscovering old friends with a purpose and experience. Perhaps this time, while offering many educational opportunities, presents us with a chance to breathe. A retreat from the mundane provides us with a chance to rediscover the spark within us, longing to create beauty. Here is a time of respite to share with those who mean the most to us.

We continue to find our strength and hope with the fantastic people of the bleeding disorders community.

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.


Shellye Horowitz avatar

Shellye Horowitz

Thank you so much for sharing your Symposium experiences. We cannot wait to see you and your family at HFA's Texas sized family reunion!

Steve Long avatar

Steve Long

Your hopes for your son's connection with our wonderful family are shared by all of us. The next generation's becoming more fully connected is vital and more valuable for them than they often realize.

Shellye Horowits avatar

Shellye Horowits

Please note that the Symposium dates are April 20-23 (the column says April 21-23).


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