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  • npatterson
    Moderator
      Post count: 398

      Hi Everyone. I am Dr. Nancy Patterson, Founder of the Graves’ Disease Foundation. I don’t get on the board very often any more, but Kimberly keeps me well-informed. My background is psychiatry and mental health, and education. Take care, Nancy

      Stymie
        Post count: 195

        Nice to meet you nancy! And thanks for helping out.

        Diane

        snelsen
          Post count: 1909

          YAY!!! I hope to attend the conference you are attending this fall! Thanks for pitching in!
          Shirley

          Kimberly
          Online Facilitator
            Post count: 4291

            Hi all – As Nancy mentioned, I will be working at a conference for endocrine surgeons Saturday, 4/13 through Tuesday, 4/16. The GDATF hosts a booth at many of the major events for physicians in order to spread the word about our organization. A lot of doctors are reluctant to refer their patients to an outside group. However, once they have an opportunity to learn about the GDATF (i.e. the fact that we provide information based on evidence-based medicine, avoid crossing the line into giving medical advice, etc.), they have a much higher level of comfort referring patients to us.

            I will check in if I can get a bit of down time; in the meantime, Nancy will be helping out, as will Ellen. Some posters here might have already “met” Ellen, as she spends the majority of her time with the GDATF assisting patients via phone and e-mail.

            I would like to thank Nancy and Ellen for taking time away from their regular responsibilities to help out on the forum. There are two other physician conferences coming up this spring, so I really hope that they both enjoy a drama-free stay here – and look forward to coming back to participate! :)

            Ellen_B
            Moderator
              Post count: 100

              Hello Nancy,
              It is wonderful to hear you will be able to answer posts while Kimberly attends a meeting. I will also add another helping hand while Kimberly is away. It is hard to believe that I have been with the GDATF for as long as four years answering phone calls and emails. Previous to that I was twelve years doing the same thing with the American Thyroid Foundation. That too seemed timeless–I think because the work is so rewarding. The GDATF aim is to increase the understanding of Graves’ disease and its treatment. I believe the Forum provides one more very valuable dimension and a means to accomplish that task.

              Sincerely,
              Ellen Brightly

              Kimberly
              Online Facilitator
                Post count: 4291

                Bumping to the top as a reminder. Have a great weekend, all!

                Be sure to ask Nancy about the time the GDATF (back then called the NGDF) was featured in Reader’s Digest — and she ended up with 3,000 pieces of mail in her living room! :) The organization has seen lots of changes in the last 20 years!

                npatterson
                Moderator
                  Post count: 398

                  Okay….’way back in the dark ages (aka before the Internet), everything was done by first class mail and telephones. Originally there was a brief article about thyroid problems published in PREVENTION magazine. I wrote to them and gave them our contact information (address and phone), which they published later in “Letters to the Editor”. Our mail picked up considerably. Then there was an article written by one of our Medical Advisors (Robert A. Stearn), that listed us, and the Thyroid Foundation of America. I got a call from Reader’s Digest. Based on their readership, and them having an excellent predictive ability based on statistical information of the number of Graves’ patients, they asked me if I had the staff to handle all that mail? “Staff” consisted of me. Of course I said “yes”. To make a long story short, over the following month, we got FOUR THOUSAND letters. The mailman was bringing them in big bags for about a week.
                  I was completely overwhelmed. They were supposed to send a self-addressed envelope so we could mail information about the foundation, Graves’, and membership back. I didn’t open any of them! Finally, one night I was talking to one of my daughters (who is VERY organized), and was telling her about all this mail, and how I didn’t know where to start. Her simple question gave me excellent advice: “Have you opened the envelopes?” What an awakening! I was quickly able to apply for a volunteer from the local volunteer organization, and we got them all answered, recorded their contact information, which included the designation “RD”. BTW, The Thyroid Foundation had more than 20,000 letters.
                  The other thing about this is that it was all done while I was working full time in my private counseling practice.

                  Take care,

                  Nancy

                  Kimberly
                  Online Facilitator
                    Post count: 4291

                    Bumping one last time…

                    Not sure if I will get a break tomorrow to check in, but I will definitely be back on Wednesday.

                    I know that we have members of this forum from MA…heartfelt condolences for the terrible losses at today’s Boston marathon.

                    PolishTym
                      Post count: 67

                      Good to have your participation, Ms. Patterson. I miss the foundation being in Williamsville–I used to go to the mall there as a kid and eat at Roy Rogers!

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