Young Adults Conference 2011 - HDA England & Wales
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For the past few years the HDA in England and Wales has been holding a conference specifically for young adults impacted by Huntington's disease. It has been a very successful addition to the events calendar, with young adults fully booking the conference for 3 years running. In 2011, there were about 55 young adults, between 18 and 35, who attended the conference.
They were treated to an inspirational talk on by Sarah Winckless, a former British Olympic (medal winning) rower, who also comes from a family affected by Huntington's disease. She brought her medals along for people to check out and gave an excellent speech on being positive despite Huntington's disease.
Then we had a talk by Dr Nayana Lahiri, who - along with being a researcher - writes articles for HDBuzz, and she gave an excellent talk on where Huntington's disease research was at right now. After that there was a break from speeches to go into groups and discuss issues that were important to young adults such as testing, being at risk, insurance, research, having children etc. These are always very useful but 45 minutes for discussion never seems enough!
On day two there were more talks. Firstly from Matt Ellison on the upcoming HDYO, he highlighted that an organisation was being created for young people affected by Huntington's disease and explained why this was needed. Then there was a personal story talk by Andrew, who gave a very nice and amusing talk on his Huntington's disease experience. The personal story is always a big hit with everyone at the conference; it's a chance to connect.
Once again the conference was a great success!