Friday, January 23, 2009

CHERUBS 2008 Accomplishments

CHERUBS has worked very hard the past year and we have accomplished a lot in the last 12 months! We have raised a ton of awareness, are well on our way to getting the CDH research site going and we've supported a lot of families! Below are just a few of the things we accomplished in 2008:

- CHERUBS welcomed 640 new families affected by Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia into our membership and on our forums. That's 640 more families who have the information and support they need on their journeys in dealing with CDH. Our total membership is now over 2650 and we are so honored and humbled to be able to help so many families.

- We held our 2008 International CHERUBS Member Conference in July in Raleigh, NC. We had a good turnout, a pizza party (in memory of Faith Grace Miles), the kids had fun with the magician and clown, and we had a day at the park where a wonderful photographer (Flashbacks by Red) took photos of our families. But mostly, our members gained a lot of support, comfort that they know they are not alone and friendships were made that will last a lifetime. A special thank you to Stephanie Olivarez, Kara Hess, Barbara Wagner, Penny Campsey, Lynne Brogdon and our entire conference committee!

- At our 2008 Conference we were honored with amazing speakers; Dr.
Meaghan Russell and Dr. Mauro Longoni (MassGeneral CDH Clinic, Boston, MA) discussed Genetic Research Into CDH. Dr. Priscilla Chiu (Sick Childrens, Toronto, Canada) discussed surgical repair of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia - flying in and out of Canada for 1 day just to speak for us! 2 x CDH Mom and Registered Nurse, Brenda Slavin discussed the Intensive Care Unit and Nursing Care. Our members learned a tremendous amount of information at our conference!

- CHERUBS became a member of ACDHO (the Alliance of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Organizations), which works together to help support families, raise awareness and encourage research. We also work together on issues facing the CDH community, support each other with encouragement and advice, work together on research projects and keep each other informed of the latest medical advances and services available to CDH families. ACDHO is made up of CDH non-profits, sites, on-line groups and doctors. It truly is an honor to be a part of such an extraordinary ensemble!

- Our first annual CHERUBS Angel Ball was held on July 26th at beautiful Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina. It was gorgeous event put together by the amazing ladies at Signature Events and a wonderful gentleman at Tournament Promotions. The hall was just.... a fantasy. It was that beautiful. It could not have happened without Bridget and Michelle and the ladies from the Raleigh Jr. Womens Club, Victorian Seasons, Wendy and Jacquetta, our M.C. Keith Todd, the rocking band The Stoneage Romeos, the phenomenal catering companies and the wonderful photographers who captured the night on film. Our auction could not have been as wonderful without all the beautiful baskets donated by CDH families and the many items donated by celebrities (thanks to Elaine Moats for her hard work getting those!). We raised a lot of money and we had a wonderful time for a wonderful cause!

- We also held our first CHERUBS Golf Tournament on July 28th at Brier Creek Country Club in Raleigh, NC. This never would've been possible without Craig Williamson, Bridget Ketron, Dave and Jean, Pat from the Chapel Hill ARC, Wendy and Jacquetta, and the amazing Bob the Blade for his MC and video expertise and also to our wonderful sponsor Teleflex!

- We welcomed new Advisory Committee Members Stephanie Olivarez, Corin Nava and Kara Hess. These wonderful ladies bought in some "new blood", new ideas and gave us fresh perspectives on all of our services and goings-on. We are so proud to welcome them!

- Once again, our wonderful Ohio Representative, Tara Hall, held our annual Ohio Member Picnic!

- We published 2 Silver Lining Newsletters

- Stories of Cherubs Vol. II was published, featuring almost 100 more stories of CDH patients

- Cooking With Cherubs Vol. III was published and included recipes from around the world

- Gabriel's Gifts put together care packages for new and expectant families in New England

- We created over 100 Personalized CDH Awareness Ribbons for members

- We published photographs of over 500 cherubs in our 2009 CHERUBS Calendar

- We led the fight against the Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Trademark and will continue to do so until CDH Awareness belongs to everyone

- We sold 100's of CDH awareness items on Cafepress and added dozens more products

- We started a skateboard design fundraiser on Zazzle

- Our first CDH Awareness Bracelets were sold

- We added a new Facebook account and reached 100's of people, educating them and raising CDH awareness

- We used our Myspace account to raise more CDH awareness

- We launched our CDH Research Site and are working on getting the database up.

- We welcomed over 20 new volunteers!

- National Children's Memorial Day

- We visited several CDH families in the hospital.

- Ove 100 New Member Packets were made thanks to the friends and family of Gabriel Nava

- Our blanket committee was started

- We did a Television Interview for our local events and explained what CDH is, raising a lot of awareness and education!

- We were featured or quoted or referred to in over a dozen newspaper articles.

- We are working with the CDH Study Group on our database, with Dr. Lally guest speaking at our next conference.

- Over CDH forums had over 30,000 posts last year - that's a TON of CDH support!!!

- We provided over 50 CDH families with blogs to journal about their cherubs

- We created CDH Awareness templates for Myspace and Blogspot - reaching 1000's of people!

And that's not all we did in 2008!!!! Look what our members did:

- ATV Rally

- Jeremiah's Car Show

- New England Zoo Trip

- Pennsylvania Camping Trip

- Gabe's Bowl-A-Thon

- Gabe's Truffle Sale

So when someone asks what is CHERUBS doing for CDH families, I often reply "What aren't we doing for CDH families"? But then, that's what CHERUBS is here for.

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