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Attending Alpha-1 Education Day

I’m so excited!

I will attend my first in-person Alpha-1 education day in over three years. You all know why: Covid.

Alpha-1 is a genetic liver disorder that can cause liver and lung disease at any age. It’s known in the COPD world as genetic COPD. If you have a family history of liver or lung problems, you should be tested.

A family reunion for patients and doctors

They diagnosed me with Alpha-1 in June 2010, and I attended my first Education Day in August 2010. My first conference was in June 2011 in Minneapolis, Mn.

I have been attending them ever since. I did have to miss one year in Orlando, though. The last three have been virtual.

It just hasn’t been the same. We are like one big, happy family, and this is our family reunion.

We get to learn more, meet new Alpha-1 patients and doctors, and hear of all the new research that has come along each year. Our support group leaders have training here each year as well.

The Alpha-1 Foundation has four one-day education days each year across the U.S. This will be the second education day this year and will take place in Chicago.

This will be the one I will be attending. They will have two more coming up this year. They will be on August 5th in Denver and November 11th in Boston.

The Alpha-1 Foundation will also have its Alpha-1 Annual National Conference in Dallas, Texas, this June. It's also the first in-person in three years.

They change the location each year to a different region, hoping to allow others from that region to come each year. Next year I am sure that they will hold somewhere on the west coast.

I’m hoping for LA so that I can also enjoy visiting my cousin who lives nearby. We had it in that area back in 2015, and I got to enjoy some days with her before the conference, so I hope we have the opportunity to do that again.

The importance of Alpha-1 conferences and education days

These conferences and education days are so important to us all. That absence away the last three years has deeply impacted so many lives of those who have felt isolated and alone.

Going to these events each year gives me a boost to keep going and to keep helping others with our support group. The training that we receive each year is invaluable.

On the last day of the conference each year, they hold a memorial service for all our fellow Alphas who have passed. Some don’t like attending, and I do not blame them, but I feel like it's something I must do.

We lose so many but can’t make each funeral, so I feel that this gives me the closure I need from losing my Alpha-1 family members. We lose way too many each year.

Hopefully, they will soon find a cure for this dreaded disorder. I’m sure if we do, we will continue to gather every year and have our big family reunion that brings us all so much joy.

For more info about Alpha-1, go to The Alpha 1 Foundation website, or ask questions in our forums.

If you have any questions or comments about Alpha 1 or the conference and education days, feel free to comment below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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