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We are now four or five months into this very bizarre time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. If you’re like me,  you’re not getting any more used to this “new normal” but rather more than ever, ready for it to be over.

While we may be ready to get back to life the way it was pre-COVID, the world is not quite ready for us to do that, so we have all been forced to make all kinds of adjustments to our daily life. HFA had to make the very difficult decision to hold our very first virtual symposium. The symposium committee, board of directors and staff had lots of conversations before coming to this decision.  I personally think the hardest part of the decision was from an emotional standpoint.

How many times have you heard someone say – at symposium or about symposium – it’s not a meeting, it’s a “family reunion.”  That is one of the statements that HFA is most proud of. We love hearing people say that and knowing people feel that way. 

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear HFA? For me – it’s FAMILY! It was really hard for me to accept that this family reunion just couldn’t happen. At least not the way it has for all these years.

Once we all accepted that fact, we immediately started looking at how can we keep this “family reunion” feeling while doing it virtually. I will admit that I am a little biased. But I got a sneak peek of the virtual platform and it’s pretty amazing.

This 3D platform will include all the things we have come to know and love about symposium – informational sessions (both live and recorded), an interactive exhibit hall, welcome session with keynote speaker and annual awards ceremony.

But since my topic here is – how do moms “do” a Virtual Symposium – I think it’s important we think about those personal aspects of Symposium and how do we not lose it in the technology. We all know us moms are different – we need those personal relationships and connections with other moms. And while I so wish we could be doing this in person – how difficult would it be if we couldn’t hug each other?

Just like we’ve been doing the last four or five month, we’re all going to be figuring this out as we go. There will be networking lounges and ways for us to connect. Let’s all take advantage of that.  But maybe even more importantly, remember that even though we aren’t physically in the same place together, we’re always together. We share this incredible bond. Whether we have met each other or not. Whether we’ve only had a few conversations or we’re close friends. None of that matters. We’re all members of this “group” because we are a mother of a child with a bleeding disorder. This bond connects us whether we see each other in Baltimore or not. And it means that come 2021 there is going to be so much hugging!

I look forward to connecting with you all virtually and seeing you soon!

Learn more at www.hemophiliafed.org/symposium!

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