By Abbie Cornett
Next month, I have the privilege of attending the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) 2017 National Conference in Anaheim, Calif., from Thursday, June 15, through Saturday, June 17. I always look forward to attending the conference and meeting patients and their families.
In 2004, when I was diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), my immunologist, Roger Kobayashi, MD, told me about IDF and the wonderful work it does.
IDF was founded in 1980 to help patients with primary immune deficiency diseases (PI), a group of more than 250 disorders that affect the immune system. Its mission is to help PI patients and their families gain access to care through its dedication to improving diagnosis, education and advocacy.
Shortly after my initial introduction to IDF, I was fortunate to attend one of its Capitol Hill days in Washington, D.C., and I was able to see firsthand how important its work is for patients and their loved ones. Since then, I have been fortunate to attend national and regional meetings, where I have been able to meet physicians who specialize in immune disorders and patients who have immune deficiencies and related conditions. These meetings also provide an excellent opportunity to attend educational sessions. Further, I am able to learn more about my disease and meet other patients with whom I can share my experiences.
It is because of these wonderful experiences with IDF that I am so excited to be attending the national conference. I am looking forward to meeting patients from all over the country and to be able to attend educational sessions with nationally recognized experts on immune deficiencies. As the patient advocate for IG Living magazine and a patient with CVID, I will be attending sessions that will help me answer patients’ questions regarding their conditions and reimbursement issues, and that will help me to establish relationships with physicians and other caregivers.
The national conference offers patients and their families a chance to create a schedule of events that will fit their interests and their physical limitations by offering multiple sessions and activities. A number of the sessions will be repeated, so if people can’t attend one, they will be able to attend it later. Besides educational opportunities, this conference is a wonderful venue for patients to meet and share their stories in a social setting.
While the national conference happens only once every other year, it is important to remember that IDF is there every day for PI patients and their families. I want to thank IDF for everything it does for us. Please share your experiences with IDF.
To learn more about the conference, go to www.idfnationalconference.org.