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A publication of the American Thyroid Association

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HIGHLIGHT: Graves’ Disease Foundation The Graves’ Disease Foundation holds successful annual Patient & Family Conference

The Graves’ Disease Foundation’s annual Patient & Family Conference was held Oct. 22-24 at San Diego’s Bahia Resort Hotel. Attendees had an opportunity to learn more about Graves’ Disease and connect with fellow patients, family members and medical professionals through a series of presentations, roundtable discussions, and small group sessions.

Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Dr. Terry Smith lined up a stellar group of presenters, who traveled from all over the country to share their expertise on Graves’ Disease. Many attendees commented that they learned more in three days than they had in years of living with Graves’ Disease. Highlights included an overview of Graves’ Disease from Dr. Smith, advice from patient and GDF Founder and Chairman Emeritus Nancy Patterson, PhD, on "Taking Control of my Graves’ Disease," two different "Ask the Doctor" Q&A sessions, and a series of presentations titled "What Can I Expect?" The "What Can I Expect?" series, new to the 2010 conference, helped to "de-mystify" common procedures by giving patients in-depth information on Thyroid Surgery, Radioactive Iodine Treatment, Decompression Surgery and Strabismus Surgery.

Additional speakers included Anca Avram, MD, Lawrence Wood, MD, Barbara Miller, MD, Andrew Gianoukakis, MD, Ray Douglas, MD, Kim Cockerham, MD, Don Kikkawa, MD and Mark Lucarelli, MD. Presenters not only shared their knowledge about Graves’ Disease, but also made themselves available throughout the weekend to answer one-on-one questions from patients and family members.

During Saturday night’s closing banquet, several volunteers and supporters received special recognition for their outstanding service.

Lifetime Achievement
Lawrence C. Wood, MD
Dr. Wood, Associate Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (ret.) and founder of the Thyroid Foundation of America, was recognized for his commitment to education and research, as well as his life-long service to patients with Graves’ and other thyroid disorders.

Fundraising Achievement
Nicole McDonald, MD and Steven McDonald
The McDonalds were honored for hosting the "Rockin’ for a Cure" event at the Quequechan Club in Fall River, MA. This event sold out in its inaugural year and raised over $12,000 for education and research.

Corporate Leadership
Diagnostic Hybrids
Ohio-based Diagnostic Hybrids developed the TSI test, which is being increasingly used to provide Graves’ patients with a timely diagnosis. As a two-time sponsor of the Foundation’s annual conference, Diagnostic Hybrids has demonstrated its commitment to patient education and empowerment.

Patient Services
Becky Nicholson and Andy Nicholson
The Nicholsons lead a monthly support group in Belleville, IL. Through an innovative partnership with Memorial Hospital, the Nicholsons have expanded their outreach to patients all over the world by recording selected featured speakers and making the presentations available for viewing over the Internet.

Special Recognition
Sharon Barbour and Kaye Lee Day
Sharon is a long-time supporter of the Graves’ Disease Foundation. Perhaps better known by her screen name, "SKI", Sharon is a constant presence on the Graves’ Disease Foundation’s public bulletin boards, providing patients with information, encouragement, reassurance and hope. As a support group leader in Salt Lake City, UT, Kaye Lee has been instrumental in raising awareness in the Salt Lake community. Kaye Lee’s expertise in graphic design has been invaluable in helping the Foundation enhance its name recognition.

The next Graves’ Disease Foundation Patient & Family Conference is scheduled for Fall 2011 in Boston, MA. Dates and hotel information will be announced shortly.