Mark Beckwith, Chief Executive, (center) with Pedro Lopez and Angela Ariza, founders of the new Nevus Association in Colombia
Winter 2016 brings with it the close of another successful year for Nevus Outreach, and, for me, the excitement that 2017 will be the 20th anniversary of our big nevus family! Nevus Outreach was founded in Nashville on July 1, 1997. Megan and Kathy and I were there.
It was all Kathy’s idea to get on the internet and look for other people. I mostly figured out how to actually get her on the internet – with all those wires and cables and … do you remember those heavy monitors?
Windows 98 had not even been invented yet. (Golly. Some of you reading this don’t know what Windows 98 is. It turns out you are not missing anything).
Anyway, Kathy got on the internet, and the rest is history. She met up with a few other families, and the next thing you know, we were all packing into the car and driving to Nashville to talk further. Before we left, we had decided to start Nevus Outreach.
Twenty years later, our organization is thriving and the network of people who have banded together is fantastic! There are thousands of people now, all looking for the same thing:
Jillian Hauf, an adult with a giant nevus, spoke at the 2016 Conference and helped us overcome our preconceptions by walking on broken glass.
"I thought I was the only one"
"Now that I’ve found Nevus Outreach I know I’m not alone."
"Nobody knew what I was going through."
"Nevus Outreach is full of people who understand."
Last July we had our 10th conference. It was a huge success and people are still talking about it! I especially liked the presentation by Jillian Hauf, an adult woman who has a giant nevus, who showed us how, by learning to walk on broken glass, she learned to question her own preconceptions.
“I was especially impressed by how eager this group was to get up and walk on the glass. Typically I need to do a bit more coaxing for the first volunteer. This speaks volumes about the Nevus Outreach community being open and receptive to new information, ideas, and techniques to improve their lives and those of their families. There is a culture of trust here, and I understand that takes years to build,” noted Jillian.
Looking to the future, we are already making plans for our next conference in 2018. Keeping with our current tradition, we will dig in at Chicago for a while. The next conference will be at the same hotel as the last one.
This time around, we will double the opportunities for people who want to go to the conference to earn credit, in order to reduce their costs when it comes time to attend. Starting now, if you put on a Grassroots Fundraiser of any kind, you can reduce your conference registration fees. You can read more about it in this newsletter.
I’m writing this before Thanksgiving – always a time for reflection. I’m thankful for nearly 20 years of the life-line Nevus Outreach has been to me and my family. Before Nevus Outreach, we felt like we were the only ones, too. It’s comforting in so many ways to know we don’t have to walk this journey by ourselves. Thank you all for the enrichment you bring to my life and my family.