Hi Friends,

With spring upon us and everything in full bloom, I hope you’ve had a good start to the year and found time to recharge and energize. My husband and I were able to spend some quality time with a few family members. I’ve been loving spending time in my new backyard garden — so much lettuce to harvest!

The Board of Directors has been busy this year and is looking forward to continue to partner with the HFA staff and community in creating an HFA strategic plan, as well as continuing to look for ways to become a stronger, more focused governing board. 

Mental health continues to be a priority for HFA and our community. In addition to adding more education and social media content, we plan to partner with other bleeding disorder organizations to collaborate on this important topic. Your mental health is extremely important. We hope you are finding ways to cope with the daily stressors and that you understand and can identify the warning signs that may indicate you or someone you love is in need of more professional support. 

I am proud to share that HFA has been awarded the 2021 Gold Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health by Mental Health America (MHA). This Bell Seal is a first-of-its-kind workplace mental health certification that recognizes employers who strive to create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees. Our status at Gold demonstrates our dedication to employee well-being for outstanding scores in workplace culture, employee perks and programs, legal and ethical compliance and leadership and community engagement.

Sharing experiences about heavy and personal topics can be intimidating and difficult to do. However, an individual’s story about facing and overcoming adversity can be the catalyst for the healing of others. I hope this issue’s cover story profiling Ryan Seely (pg. 22) serves as that catalyst as you read about his struggles with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. I’m also proud to see Michael Bishop, one of HFA’s own staff members, share his experience managing depression (pg. 26) within these pages. Michael’s story is one that many can resonate with and I hope his message of continuing to work towards a better tomorrow is something you take away.

Whether it’s through daily light exercise, finding small joys, having gratitude or talking with a mental health provider, we encourage you to support your mental health. We are here to help educate, advocate and support you in that process. (Turn to page 20 for HFA’s mental health resources.) 

We also hope that your family is staying healthy during this time. As COVID-19 vaccines begin to roll out more widely, HFA is here to offer education on the vaccine and support your decision-making. As a health care worker, I was fortunate to receive my vaccine and am thankful that I had the opportunity to better protect myself and my loved ones. 

Despite the challenging times, the bleeding disorders community remains strong and is here to support one another. HFA is excited for what is in store as 2021 unfolds, and we hope you are too.

Allie Ritcey

Chair, HFA Board of Directors 

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