The Marfan Blog

My Daughter's First Marfan Conference - A Decade After Diagnosis

Mar 11, 2014 by Jennifer Nielson

There we were, at The Marfan Foundation’s 2013 Annual Family Conference in Beverly Hills, California, for the first time. Why had we waited ten years to participate? I think back to when my daughter Hadley was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome and am filled with regret. We missed a decade of these annual conferences and opportunities associated with The Marfan Foundation during those first few critical years. Because Hadley has always been so well adjusted and supported by friends and family, I hadn’t seen the need. After all, we were on top of her medical care, regularly visiting the doctors and are fully aware of her treatment options. I just couldn’t see how attending a conference devoted to Marfan syndrome could benefit us. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

In truth we had never even met another person with this syndrome before we attended the conference. Hadley approached it with the same skepticism I felt, but soon discovered there were so many kids her age that could relate to her. She made new friends quickly and they formed a support system. She felt understood by her peers in a way she had never thought possible. I watched her laugh and bond with other remarkable kids so much like her. I, too, made lasting friendships with parents dealing with the same emotions and concerns I have had. We met with renowned doctors who were experts in Marfan syndrome. They generously donated their time, examining hundreds of people living with this condition. It put my mind at ease to know that we were on the right track.

Topics: Family Planning, Marfan Conference

What the Marfan Community Means to Us

Dec 17, 2013 by Alix McLean Jennings

When my younger daughter Cassie turned one almost six years ago, I thought we'd ended the craziest year of her life. But this past year is definitely in the running. And I’m sharing our story during this year’s Research and Progress Drive because, more than ever, I see how important the work that we all support through The Marfan Foundation is in my family's life.

Cassie was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome at birth, thanks in part to The Marfan Foundation’s early diagnosis initiative, and the following months involved weekly visits with each of her 11 specialists. The care Cassie received was incredible -- very thorough and attentive -- and she thrived. I contacted The Marfan Foundation when she was just six weeks old – and they have been a source of information and support ever since.

Over the next five years, Cassie's doctors' appointments were kept to her pediatrician and her three major specialists -- cardiologist, orthopedist, and ophthalmologist. Her heart was monitored by echos every four months and her aorta was kept in check with medication. She wore ankle braces and had a back brace for a time. And she has worn glasses since she was 5 months old. Things were busy, but manageable.

Topics: Family Planning, Marfan Community, Diagnosis