The 2013 Conference Scholarship Information is now available by clicking here. If you are someone who has never attended a 1p36 Deletion Support & Awareness Conference and need financial assistance, we really encourage you to apply. Just read the story below to see how last years conference affected one mom who won a scholarship.
Attending the 2012 1p36 deletion syndrome conference was an experience of a lifetime! Not only did I gain information, but most importantly I released pain, guilt, frustration, and fear. It was like I entered into a world where I slowly emptied all of these struggles, and replaced them with a sense of comfort, understanding, and family. What an amazing experience.
As we were driving down the main drag in Pigeon Forge to get to Gatlinburg, side by side other cars I kept looking around with butterflies thinking maybe there is someone from my support group in that van, or maybe that one, or that one, and so on. We finally pulled into the hotel and immediately I recognized someone, a Mom and her little boy from the group…a flood of heat immediately rushed throughout my body. Then as we park I see another family and another. I am flooded with emotion. We check in and get into the elevator to go up to our room and in the elevator I break. Not knowing why I just start bawling. And, as I type this memory I am finding myself unable to hold back emotion again, crying this very moment remembering what I was feeling. Just knowing I was surrounded by other people who knew just how much I had been through, what I was currently going through, and how much I was going to go through. They understood the sacrifices, the pain, the tired, the emotion, and the sense of feeling so alone. My son made socializing a little tuff showing off his screaming and tantrum phase, but I still managed to gain so much. Just being in the presence of other families and actually feeling like they were part of my family when I had never met any of them until then.
Some might find this crazy to say but my favorite and most gained part of the conference besides just being there, was the question and answer. Parents pleading for answers and guidance and the loving responses were just so overwhelming. I think I cried the whole time. It felt so good and it released so much pent up emotion to witness others going through similar struggles.
Seeing other children faced with 1p36 deletion was great for me also. I wish I would have been able to meet and interact with them more. Seeing older children/young adults was a great insight to a future for my son. Attending the conference was life changing for me. I now know firsthand that I am not alone on this 1p36 journey.
The Scholarship application has now closed. Winners will be Announced soon.