Toronto was host to this years 4th Annual Reach Symposium, which focused on families; "Those Living with and Affected by Hirschsprung Disease". The majority of the audience were local Ontario HD families with a handful of HD children. Reach also invited several out of town guests to be a part of the Expert Panel including Dr. Carlo Di Lorenzo, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Reach's very own Dr. Allan Goldstein. 

Full house Q & A with Dr. Carlo di Lorenzo and Dr. Jacob Langer

What a lineup! The presentations varied from the history of Hirschsprung’s, bowel movement, children’s diet, a comforting and informative parent panel and an expert panel discussion. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed all the presentations, but the parent panel was definitely a crowd favorite! Several volunteers and their children formed the panel, sharing stories and experiences with Hirschsprung’s.  Through the timeless art of storytelling, parents shared their touching stories which created a warm feeling of hope that resinated among the rest of the parents dealing with similar issues.  In keeping with the symposiums theme, the parent panel gave hope for those living with and affected by Hirschsprung Disease, and a more optimistic outlook for the future of their own children's lives.  

Parent panel (Left to right) Susan G, Katie W & Daniel S. 

Reach encouraged attendees to bring their HD kids, and there were about half a dozen in attendance. Some tasty snacks and Starbucks coffee were provided for everyone in between presentations and the kids really enjoyed the HD “swag table”. Everyone was eagerly asking about the t-shirts, which are available on the website. However, who doesn't love winning? In between the presentations Reach’s Communications Marketing Coordinator, Kate, gave away some Shit Happens t-shirts to a few lucky audience members who correctly answered trivia related to the days presentations. This activity really amped up the days atmosphere and the kids loved having their picture taken wearing the shirts...and Dr. Goldstein!

Reach wanted to send out another HUGE Thank You to everyone involved in putting on this year's symposium: Sick Kids Hospital for hosting, organizers Jennifer Ionson NP, Kimberly Colapinto NP, Dr. Jacob Langer, the Reach Board and Communications Marketing Coordinator Kate Yacula. Until next year!

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