By Valerie Mallock
I had the privileged of being selected, with Katie DeLargie, to represent YPAHD – HSC’s youth chapter – at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) convention in Dallas last month because of my brother. Doug, who is the vice-president of YPAHD, has made an effort to help get me involved. Not that it took much, HSC and YPAHD are important to me and I wanted to be involved and make a difference.
I’ve been to chapter meetings here in New Brunswick and I went to the HSC’s National Conference in Winnipeg in 2014, but nothing prepared me for the HDSA convention. This was on a whole different scale. It was huge!
There were hundreds and hundreds of people from all over the country. Katie DeLargie and I were the only Canadians, though, and everybody loved meeting us — I guess we were exotic.
My favourite sessions over the weekend were the ones with Dr. Ed Wild and Dr. Jeff Carroll. I love hearing about the research and all the advancements that are happening. I came away convinced that there will be treatments to combat this disease.
We had plenty of fun at the convention too. This was my first trip to Texas, and I loved it: the accents, the décor, the cowboy hats and everything. I even learned to play blackjack at the casino night. If it wasn’t play money, I would have made a killing.
It was great meeting so many people and having so many workshops specifically designed for youth during the convention. Having attended the HDSA convention I realized that we’ve got some pretty good programs for youth here in Canada. I came back feeling inspired to get more involved with YPAHD
So thanks, HSC, for sending me! And Doug, thanks for inspiring me to get involved! It was a great experience. I learned so much and I am now, more than ever, ready to roll up my sleeves and make a difference.