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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Visit to the UN; World AIDS Day


Last Tuesday I was privileged to travel to New York City to meet with His Excellency Francis Lorenzo, the UN Ambassador from the Dominican Republic. He had heard about our work with children with hemophilia in his home country, a country I have been working with for 10 years now. We were introduced by Juliet Hanlon, an entertainer who is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador. Juliet was present at the CCBF awards on October 28, and introduced herself, wanting to help our mission. Juliet met me in the UN lobby and Amb. Lorenzo soon showed up to greet us. We met over lunch, where I was able to share what hemophilia is, how it is treated, and how children in the US live normal lives with proper medicine. I happened to bring a vial of factor with me. He was really interested and asked excellent questions. As December 1 is World AIDS Day, I am sure he was linking the two in his mind and this makes sense; a sure way to stop the spread of AIDS in the developing world is to get people with hemophilia off cryo and fresh frozen plasma, and on to factor concentrate.

We spent much of the afternoon together, brainstorming ways our organizations might work together. I will introduce him to FAHEM, the national hemophilia organization of the DR, and I even invited him to camp. Next year will be our tenth anniversary of hemophilia camp in the DR and it will be an honor to have him attend. I had a brief tour of the Security Council chamber; sobering. As a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, I had once thought I would work at the UN, but life had other plans. Hemophilia became my destiny. It's ironic that hemophilia now brings me back!

Thanks to Juliet Hanlon for making the introductions and for her time. My deep appreciation to Am. Lorenzo for his concern, his time and his ideas. It was a wonderful first visit to the UN.


Good Book I Just Read: The Magic of Thinking Big
This is a light yet powerful motivational book that will inspire you to do more. Author David Schwartz enthusiastically tells us that our attitudes and our vision are really the only things that keep us from attaining greater heights. With more focus, clearer goals, and above all an expanded vision of what we can be, we can all become greater than what we are. The books is easy to read, and has many anectodotes to illustrate what he means, though his message is clear enough. I like the section about the company you keep: beware of negative people, gossips, small minded people who distract you from your destiny and dreams. Your environment can greatly impact your goals; "guard your psychological environment," Schwartz warns. I've read tons of books like this one, and I like this one especially for its simplicity, repetitive message and great enthusiasm. Written in 1959, you may be amused by his simple labels ("Mr. Negative and Mr. Positive"), irked by the references to housewives baking for their hardworking husbands, and amazed at the salaries he lists to aspire to. But then, the price of gas back then was what... $ .22 a gallon? A great pick me up. Three stars!

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