One dad said it almost like a kid who’s been told the play date is over: “I’m not ready to go home.” Before the Denver Summit was half finished, he was already dreading the inevitable return to normal life. It was understandable.
There was something so empowering about being surrounded by a KCNQ2 crowd–a dozen or so children and families, plus siblings, grandparents, friends, doctors, and researchers.
Maybe it was the novelty of meeting other people who really know what life is like on Planet KCNQ2. They understand each others’ superpowers and kryptonites. Or maybe it was the feeling of family reunion that permeated the Summit as parents posed for group shots and held each others’ babies. Of course there was definitely something reassuring about seeing and hearing firsthand that brilliant, compassionate experts are hard at work on behalf of these children.
But perhaps most powerfully we sensed a brimming energy. We could feel a convergence of individual enthusiasm, like so many mirrored panels all focused on one bright tower. We were a KCNQ2 solar collector, each reflecting and concentrating light to convert it into usable energy.
Coming down from altitude is never easy. The question now, on a Monday morning, is how can we use that energy going forward? How do we channel the spirit of the Summit?
First of all, TALK IT UP! Together we need to spread the word. Share your pictures from Denver. Slap that bumper sticker on your car (and take a photo of it, next to your license plate. I’m starting a collection for a fun photo gallery!).
Check out the new KCNQ2.org website, which is updated and ready for action. Dr. John Millichap did a phenomenal job of contributing to the medical portal for all those doctors and other medical professionals who want an overview of the science of KCNQ2. We will also be building up the virtual library with videos and adding resource content as we get it. Let your doctors know that they can direct their colleagues there.
Whenever a friend or relative asks how they can help, please let them know about our new portal designed with them in mind. It explains there how the Jack Pribaz Foundation is a public charity and that gifts are tax exempt. Find ways to help support the cause. And if you have other suggestions, let us know!
One family in Denver told me that for their daughter’s birthday they asked for friends and families to make a donation to the Foundation instead of bringing a birthday gift. What a great idea!
Perhaps you heard this very touching story: We received a check in the mail in memory of a name we didn’t recognize. That name turned out to belong to the great-grandmother of one of our KCNQ2 kids. The two had shared a special bond, and when the great-grandmother passed away the family asked for donations to the Foundation in lieu of flowers. We were so moved.
And then there’s the amazing example of Gwen’s mom Gretchen, who held a fundraiser in her hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, at a local martini bar. She put together an outstanding event that raised more than $3000!!! Her good friend Melinda held a second fundraiser by baking cookies. $800 worth of sweetness!! Way to go, Ohio! You are an inspiration!
We have always believed that the way forward is together. We have to thank the people in Wheaton, Illinois, who have supported this Foundation from the very beginning, and the many folks who have joined us along the way–now from all over the world! A special thanks to the Lazaridis family from Toronto, the Fitzpatricks who crossed the sea from Dublin, Vivi Lopez de Rodriguez who came from Guatemala, and all who came from far and near. Our love to those who could not make the journey but were with us in spirit. And of course a very special thanks to Jim Johnson and Scotty Sims for all their successful hard work. It was a few days we will never forget!
Are you inspired by what happened in Denver? Let’s keep moving forward Together in Search for a Cure!