December 31, 2018 marked the end of our official 35th year – a milestone that makes us extremely proud. As we begin the next 35 years, I want to personally thank each one of you for making our association so vibrant and helping us grow in so many ways.
One of the things I am most proud of is the fact that the WSA has become so much more than just an association – it is a thriving nonprofit and a model among disability support organizations. But most importantly, the WSA is a community, and in many ways, it is a family. Many teens and adults tell us that they love having Williams syndrome, and have described Williams syndrome as “a gift that I have”. I think that for many, that feeling can be linked back to “family” – our kids have a very strong love of family, and through the Williams Syndrome Association they have found a second family. Each time that we gather, whether in a small group, the national convention, or any gathering in between, there is an overwhelming feeling of connectedness and belonging. For me, it is a feeling that is born out of strength – the strength that I am given through the quality and quantity of support that has always been there, both for my family and for our membership, and the strength and fulfillment that comes from the knowledge that I am helping others. I hope that you feel it too.
Each time you talk to your family and friends, or folks in your local community about Williams syndrome, you are increasing awareness and increasing our opportunity to find the experts we need to help us uncover the mysteries and overcome the challenges of Williams syndrome.
Each time you answer a question or share a valuable resource on social media, you are helping expand the knowledge and resources of the WSA community at large and providing increased opportunities for individuals with WS to realize and increase their potential.
Each time you update your account on the WS Registry or participate in a research study, you are helping to provide the answers that will lead to better treatments and brighter futures for our sons and daughters with Williams syndrome.
And each time you contribute to the WSA at any level, through attending a fundraising event, making a personal contribution throughout the year, an honorarium or memorial gift, a gift through a workplace campaign such as United Way or the CFC or by hosting a personal fundraiser to benefit the Association, you are making the WSA family stronger and changing lives in a very meaningful way.
On behalf of every individual with Williams syndrome and their families, I want to thank you all for making the WSA a strong and dynamic community. My family, Ben personally, and everyone in the WSA community benefits tremendously from the love and support that we share.
Happy New Year!