Wednesday, October 2, 2013

“You Know about PWS?”

It truly is a small world out there. I, along with a friend who also works at Latham, got to spend a few weeks last month on an olive farm in Tuscany. We are not talking luxury accommodations but let’s face it, it was TUSCANY!  We were down a dirt road, off in the hills, away from city lights and sounds. No TV, Wifi, AC or even window screens. We had fresh air, fresh food (figs from the trees were in our home-cooked pasta one night) and scenery that was breath-taking in all directions. We met people from the US, Canada, Denmark, Great Britain and South Korea while staying at this lovely place and one night, our hostess prepared a meal that will be forever imprinted in my brain and on my taste buds.

As often happens when you meet a varied group of separate travelers, the conversations start with “Where are you from?” and move on to “What do you do?”.  Describing Latham and our work with PWS and other complex special needs is one I enjoy speaking about. A sumptuous dinner table laden with food recently growing in the gardens was a somewhat ironic setting to explain PWS to nine unfamiliar dinner guests. I began giving some background info and at the end of the table the young couple on their honeymoon said, “Prader-Willi Syndrome, you know about that?”  I admit to a glass or two of Chianti by this point and I looked at them and said, “You know about PWS?” And then the older gentleman from Denmark said “I have heard about PWS."

Wow. This doesn’t usually happen unless I am at a PWS focused event or conference. Turns out the honeymooners (both pediatric dermatologists from Yale) and the man from Denmark (a surgeon) had a good grasp of the basics and while none of them had patients with PWS, I am confident that they would have recognized the challenges and risks associated with the syndrome. If you include myself and my travel buddy, that means that five of the nine dinner guests present knew about PWS. In the middle of Italy, that nights’ conversation was lively and international and most importantly, a little PWS networking was accomplished as well!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant


Related Posts:
A Fish out of Water
You Live Where? 
Did You Know? 




“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
 ~William James

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