Timing is everything. When I think back on how I found Pat, Kimberly, and PPMD ten years ago to the month, I often think about the events that led to that faithful interview in the fall of September 2004. Sure, maybe some of it was luck, but I also believe there was a higher power at work. When I spoke to Pat the first time for my phone interview she said "I'm looking for lifers, once we see treatments, we are going to have to figure out how best to ensure patients have access." It was a profound statement and the field of research and therapy development were in a pre-pubescent stage at the time, but she was confident about treating this generation. I liked her immediately.
There were only four of us in 2004. Kimberly was building a team in New Jersey and I was lucky enough to be among the first to be invited in. Once I started meeting Duchenne families, I knew I had found a home. My extended family continues to grow with each phone call I receive, each email I read, and each family I meet. Over the past decade, I've had the privilege to see this community mature, mobilize, and change the landscape. More importantly, I have had the privilege of learning from Pat Furlong. She has changed my life forever and I would walk through fire for her.
Ten years later, again, timing is everything. When Annie Kennedy indicated she was interested in joining our team I felt like Christmas came early. Someone I have admired and worked closely with for years, wanted to join PPMD. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a more critical time for our community. The pipeline is full of promise, the opportunities are vast, and the challenges immense, but none of it insurmountable with someone like Annie fighting the good fight along side us. Her focus will be on advancing public policy, addressing transition issues for people with Duchenne, and working on newborn screening issues.
I have been lucky to call Annie a friend for many years and now honored to call her a coworker – or perhaps “team member” is much more accurate. Because this is so much more than “work” to us here at PPMD. It is our lives. Your family is our family. And this month our community becomes even stronger – we got Annie.