Every two years we gather…
Somewhere in Europe we meet, this elite club…
Hardened veterans; passing on their expertise, knowledge and love
Newbies; eager eyed, unsure of what lies ahead and ready for the unknown
The Danes have delivered, the EuroHearts 2012 conference is going ahead. Whatever the next 5 days brings the effort to do that, and that alone, is appreciated by those veterans who’ve been there and done that (in some cases more than one once).
The late nights, stress about the money, worries about who will speak, coordinating the arrival of over 50 people (most with a range conditions) and the really important things- what colour should the t-shirts be, who will captain the football teams and just how posh is the gala night going to be?
That all sounds light hearted, and for plenty of the time we will be. However, we will remember those not there, both those who for one reason or another can’t make the conference and those who have no choice. We’re a high-risk bunch of friends to have, as we have this unfortunate habit of dying. And we will celebrate the lives they’ve led, the joy they’ve bought us their friends.
And we’ll talk about the big things; the way care is organised in our countries, how the group working between conferences has been doing, we’ll get Danish experts give us their views on transition, exercise and fundraising for groups, and we’ll renew friendships and make new ones. The full agenda is here:
And friendships are where these conferences should begin and end. For me it’s a rare opportunity to be me; the showman is seen through, the comic’s jokes fall flat, the analyst… well that I’m afraid is too hard wired to go away. There are people coming to Copenhagen who remember when I was a newbie, fresh-faced and searching for a way I could help. I hope I’ve not let them down these last 14 years… And knowing the personalities they’d have told me if I had (otherwise, ladies be gentle!).
And in the darkness of the small hours of the morning you’ll see 2’s and 3’s of us disappear off, arm in arm… Some will think that something nefarious or sexual is going on, and I’m sure sometimes it does… but most of the time it’s time to talk, to hold someone who understands and to cry.
We’ll agree a hashtag on Monday and get the twitterati of the conference to update the world as we go… For these conferences are something more special than 50 people with congenital heart disease together, they have helped create, inspire and support, groups from Atlantic to the Arctic, from the Middle East (we’re quite bad at geography and let most countries in) through to Australia and occasionally Canada and others.
So pack well my friends of old renown and yet to be made, the greatest show on earth may be on in London at the moment, but this is the greatest show of our world.
I can’t say it enough, so I’ll finish on it – Thank you to Kirsten and the team, without you we couldn’t be here!