2014 Conference Report
On July 5, 2014, the Global CMTC-OVM US Organization held their annual conference. This year’s conference was held in St. Louis Missouri for the second consecutive year. The conference was held at the conveniently located Hilton St. Louis Airport hotel, adjacent to Lambert St. Louis International Airport (STL). There were registered participants from 7 states and 3 countries in attendance this year.
The general session was opened by Becky Gallis, CMTC-OVM US President. Following a brief welcome and time of orienting the group to the location of the medical evaluations, things were underway with the first presentation.
Prof. Dr. Suzanne Pasmans, professor of pediatric dermatology from the Rotterdam area, Netherlands, provided an informative presentation discussing CMTC and other vascular malformations with examples of the differences and similarities of each. She also provided free medical evaluations, and this year was no different than those past, as some diagnoses were confirmed while others were changed. Dr. Pasmans also gave a presentation during the general session covering the development of the Dutch Skin House. While this website is currently only in Dutch, she shared that an English version would occur in the future.
Brandy James, MA., MS., Child Development Specialist and Family Life Educator for Head Start, Inc., and CMTC-OVM US Secretary, has dedicated her research to examining chronic sorrow and the effects of parenting children with rare diseases/syndromes and family systems. Her presentation enlightened parents on concepts of effectively directing a psychological/emotional situation focusing on the well-being of their child. A new component to the conference this year, was a consultation with Brandy immediately following each family’s medical evaluation. This was noted as a successful and welcomed addition to the conference and will continue in the future.
The Missouri Backyard BBQ was the lunch menu again this year. Following lunch, Becky shared the US organization’s mission and structure. In addition, she commented on the website renovation that is coming soon. She wishes to involve more personal stories, with a news-feed sharing achievements/accomplishments of members; such as, awards at school, community acknowledgements, etc. The US organization’s Treasurer, Tabatha Broussard, spoke on the financial status of the organization, and our current needs. Andrea West, our fundraising director, presented her vision for future fundraising opportunities, via Skype as she was unable to attend the conference this year. Lex van der Heijden, NL organization president, presented the Dutch and International mission, structure, and financials.
The conference weekend proved to be a wonderful time for the families that attended. Some took the opportunity to spend the day together at The Magic House – St. Louis’ Children’s Museum. In addition, nearly everyone traveled to Forest Park for the 4th of July festivities, with lots of food, fun, and of course fireworks!
The CMTC-OVM US Board of Directors are making every effort to accommodate as many members as possible. Therefore, next year’s conference will be in a different location. Stay tuned, the annual conference will be coming to a city near you.