On 8 July 2018, Alpha-1 Awareness hosted its 10 year Celebration Day, celebrating 10 years since the founding of the charity. World-renowned speakers were invited to share their knowledge on Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, Professor David Lomas and Professor Nedim Hadzic, as well as those conquering the condition themselves, Karen Skålvoll. The Celebration Day was hosted at Millet’s Farm Centre in Frilford, Oxfordshire, a family owned farm with food, shopping and entertainment.
The day started out with the Chair’s welcome from Alan Wooler, followed by a short video from Charity founder, Dawn Heywood-Jones, establishing the history and founding of the charity. Professor Lomas followed with an informative discussion on the pathophysiology of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, and the current state of finding a cure for the condition. Professor Hadzic spoke next, providing an overview of how the condition affects children, and potential areas for future research within the field.
Following a tea and coffee break, Karen inspired the audience with her story of how she was diagnosed with the condition, and went on to continue breaking world records despite it. She spoke of the sports team she founded, Alpha-1 Athlete, dedicated to educating about lung disease and Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, and empowering those affected with the condition to continue living their lives to the fullest. She shared her most recent feat pulling fighter jets and shared stories from other experiences with her Alpha Warriors. Alpha-1 Awareness was so inspired by Karen’s story that we officially announced her sponsorship following Karen’s talk, where we presented her with a check for £1500 to sponsor Alpha-1 Athlete for the next 3 years. The charity is very pleased to help Karen and her Alpha Warriors continue their inspirational work, and looks forward to seeing them achieve their goals over the coming years.
The charity’s Parent Support Officer, Emma Wooler, followed Karen and announced the official launch of the Alphie Kid’s Club, the first club dedicated solely to the children affected by Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. The club’s website was launched at www.alphiekids.club, where children can download colouring pages, puzzles and receive an exclusive membership pack when joining. To help kick off the festivities, the charity gave presents to the children present at the Celebration Day, including Alphie Bears made specially for the children at Build-A-Bear workshops. One child in particular, Cai, was given a special Alphie Bear for his recent efforts in raising nearly £800 for the charity by shaving his head.
After a delicious and varied lunch buffet, attendees mingled with other charity members and the specialists present, then it was time for some delicious cake! It was as tasty as it was beautiful. Even better, there were loads of leftovers to last for days!
All in all, the Celebration Day proved both informative and fun, offering members a chance to mingle with other Alphas, as well as chat with the charity Board and with Alpha specialists from across the country. The charity was pleased to spend its 10th birthday amongst valued friends, and we look forward to what the next 10 years brings!