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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wine, Friends, a Foundation, A Legacy

I don’t often attend hemophilia functions in my own home territory because I am often traveling elsewhere for hemophilia. How nice it was to attend a wine tasting event in Connecticut to benefit the Colburn-Keenan Foundation. This was all the more special to me, because I knew the founders, Donald Colburn and Kathy Keenan, who lived in my hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. Many of us who have been in the hemophilia community 10 years or more will remember Donald as the man who donated half a million dollars to kick off NHF’s Campaign for the Cure.

I drove almost three hours to a lovely vineyard at Rosedale Farms and Vineyards in Simsbury, Connecticut. It was a perfect fall day for the event, and I was greeted by long time friends and colleagues Mark Zatyrka, who is Donald’s nephew, and his wife, Sasha, who is executive director of the foundation now. Mark also has hemophilia.

Laurie with brother Tim
and sister-in-law Leslie

There were many old friends in attendance, and I convinced my brother Tim and sister-in-law Lee to drive down from Springfield to join us. The Connecticut Hemophilia Association staff was present, as were many local homecare and pharmaceutical company reps, which helped support the event. There were many great wines to try, wonderful hors d’oeuvres, cheese and fruit, and raffle prizes.

Awaiting the raffle results!
Laurie with hemophilia friends
Jane and Chris Smith
But the best part of these events is hearing from the families who benefit. I work internationally, with impoverished families (and I mean like $1 a day income impoverished families), and sometimes it’s easy to dismiss or even forget that there are families really hurting now in America. Jennifer, a mom from Connecticut, stood up and gave a wonderful testimony about how the Colburn-Keenan Foundation helped her family when they had tough times; her son now is thriving thanks to their financial support. I also want to thank the Foundation for making a donation to my own nonprofit, Save One Life, which helped us meet our operating expenses.
With Adam Oliveri, president of AHF, Inc.,
 founded by Don Colburn

And it’s really a great legacy from a great man and woman, a team, who devoted their lives to making a difference: and they are still making a difference even though they have both passed on. Read below to learn about the unique couple whose lives were all about giving. And visit to learn more about the Foundation.

Thanks to Mark, Sasha, and everyone for a wonderful evening!

From the website

Donald E. Colburn, founder of the Colburn-Keenan Foundation, Inc. was raised in Agawam and was a longtime resident of Springfield, Massachusetts and Suffield, Connecticut. Donald’s life was one of outstanding community service.

Donald was a past president, volunteer, and supporter of the Kiwanis International Club of Greater Springfield and the Cape. He supported the United Way of the Pioneer Valley, the Jimmy Fund, Special Olympics, many of the first AIDS service organizations, including Project Inform, AIDS Action, Camp Heartland, Camp Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, and the Elizabeth Glasser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Donald also lived with severe hemophilia A and many of its complications and, as a consequence, was committed to the creation of a better world for individuals and families living with bleeding disorders. Donald’s volunteer leadership activities spanned 35 years,  and included his years as Executive Director of the New England Hemophilia Association (NEHA). His national volunteer work included participation in the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Hemophilia Treatment Center grant review program; the Centers for Disease Control’s Care Standards Committee and its Hemophilia/HIV Treatment Center Compliance Site Visit program; and the National Hemophilia Foundation’s (NHF’s) Blood Products Monitoring Committee, Blood Safety Committee, MANN Committee, Advocacy Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and It’s Time for a Cure committee. He was a supporter of the Committee of Ten Thousand and Hemophilia Foundation of America.

Kathy Ann Keenan, founder of the Colburn-Keenan Foundation, Inc. was born in Queens, New York and was raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. Kathy Ann’s life was one of caring and giving. She was a generous benefactor to many worthy projects and charities in the local community as well as several regional and national organizations. These included the New England Hemophilia Association, the National Hemophilia Foundation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Research Alliance, the Elizabeth Glasser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and Project Inform, to name a few.

In 1982 Donald Colburn and Kathy Ann Keenan married and began a life together of hard work and personal and corporate responsibility. In 1989, they founded AHF, Inc., a homecare pharmacy.

Donald and Kathy Ann founded the Colburn-Keenan Foundation as a means to perpetuate their hopes for and service to the bleeding disorders community. The Foundation represents their life-long commitment to supporting the emergency, medical, and educational needs of those with bleeding and other chronic disorders. In addition, the Foundation supports the work of community, regional, and national organizations involved in projects and programs that benefit the bleeding disorders and chronic illness communities.

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