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The 2012 Annual Meeting is in the books – the record books that is! The 15th Annual Meeting surpassed all previous records for the IPPF: attendance, sponsor- ships, speakers, excitement, en- tertainment, and more! A very special THANK YOU goes out to the IPPF’s Annual Meeting Committee. Co-chairs Dr. Terry Wolinsky-McDonald and Will Zrnchik, Sonia Tramel, J. Gregory Wright, and Marc Yale were joined by Dr. A. Razzaque Ahmed and Mr. Alan Papert, both from Boston. The commit- tee started planning the Boston meeting in July 2011 and the re- sults were amazing. The 2012 Annual Meeting would not have been possible were it not for the generosity of our spon- sors and volunteers. Our Plati- num Sponsor was KabaFusion (www.kabafusion.com). Dr. So- hail Masood and his team did ev- erything from helping with regis- tration and handing out awesome gift bags full of swag, to answering patient questions and greeting arriving guests at Saturday eve- ning’s Gala Celebration. The IPPF is pleased to welcome KabaFusion as a partner and we look forward to continued success.
Our Gold Sponsor, AxelaCare (www.axelacare.com), has been a sponsor since 2009 and Mr. Brian Cleary has helped many pemphigus and pemphigoid pa- tients with insurance-related is- sues. Our Silver Sponsors were Cres- cent Healthcare, Inc. (www. crescenthealthcare.com), PNC Wealth Management (www.pnc. com), and NuFactor Specialty Pharmacy (www.nufactor.com). Crescent has been an IPPF spon- sor since our 2006 Annual Meet- ing in New York. Both PNC and NuFactor are new sponsors and the IPPF welcomes them to our family. Our Bronze Sponsors were BIOFUSION (www.biofusion. com), Centric Health Resourc- es (www.centrichealthresourc- es.com), and the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Insti- tution (MERSI, www.mersi.com). Biofusion first sponsored the IPPF back in 2003 and has been a valued partner ever since. Cen- tric has been a sponsor since 2006 and helped develop the free IPPF Health Management Program (www.pemphigus.org/hmp). The IPPF welcomes MERSI as a spon- sor this year and looks forward to the future. The Blistering Disease Sup- port Group from Boston con- tributed hundreds of hours of work to help with planning, din- ner, and entertainment arrange- ments; packaging thousands of product samples; and greeting at- tendees to the meeting. A special thanks goes out to the Stillman’s and Peckrill’s for their leadership of this massive project. The Bos- ton Support Group, led by Alan Papert, helped with site surveys,
event planning and A/V coordi- nation. Alan’s wife, Gloria Papert, was her usual self helping with the registration table, answering attendee questions, and making the event an enjoyable one for ev- eryone. Thank you, Alan and Glo- ria, for your support. Bruce Heath, Vicki Garrison, Phyllis MacPherson, Dr. Shawn Shetty, and Dr. Marsha Fearing from Dr. Ahmed’s office helped with everything from sending let- ters and flyers, to attendee and speaker reservations and regis- tration. And the muscle behind the event, Ike Mahmood and Gh- ulam Ali, helped package, load and transport over 2,000 pounds of donated products. Lastly, Kendra Smith, Con- vention Services Manager at the Hyatt Harborside, worked with the IPPF Annual Meeting Com- mittee to make the impossible possible. Thank you everyone for mak- ing this THE meeting that has raised the bar to a new level. The IPPF invites this year’s attendees, and the entire pemphigus and pemphigoid community, to join us April 26-28, 2013, in San Fran- cisco for the 2013 Annual Meeting (information will be sent out lat- er this year).
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We had a great patient conference in San Francisco last month. We introduced new content (e.g., talk on stress, R&D panel) and conducted the most streamlined conference in our history. Many thanks to all of our foundation staff, volunteers, and sponsors for putting on a great event! We look forward to a terrific conference in Chicago in 2014.

As the organization expands its activities by strengthening its patient support programs and by pivoting into therapy access/reimbursement issues and R&D and product development, volunteerism will become critical. For small organizations like ours, volunteers are a driving force. Our patients give us inspiration, and our volunteers give us propulsion. I ask you now to think about how you can contribute to the foundation.

We have created different types of volunteer positions to match people’s interests and lifestyle preferences. You also can rotate through different positions. Anyone can contribute – not just patients, but also caregivers, friends, anyone that feels strongly about helping patients with rare/neglected diseases, wants to give back with their time and expertise, and wants to help grow a small organization to deliver greater impact. We are looking to fill positions on the CEO’s Executive Board (“CEO’s senior staff”), Special Projects Contributors, and General Volunteers. Serving in one of these roles could position someone for greater leadership opportunities in the Foundation. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer, or even to just brainstorm what opportunities exist to best utilize your talents and expertise. If you have a skill or an interest, we will find something that works for you. (See page 4 for a description of volunteer roles).

Someone from the Red Cross recently told me that around 95% of their “workforce” consists of volunteers. We can do the same. Let’s leverage the power of the IPPF community to catalyze positive change.