We did it – Reflections on our 2021 conference by Conference Chair – Tess Sanderson
Reflecting on our very busy 2 day Conference at Whittlebury Hall in October, I am amazed that we finally got our long awaited and much needed conference off the ground. I don’t think any of the Lipoedema UK team and volunteers could quite believe we had finally made it. After nearly 2 years of postponements and reorganisation, with Sharie organising speakers, sponsors, menus and so much more and our Office Angel Joella working to get all the administration and ‘back room’ work done so the event could run smoothly, we were finally here. It was exciting, nerve racking and hugely satisfying. Thank you to everyone who came along and made it all such a special event.
For me, the days were full of checking timings, knowing where people were and thinking on my feet to change things when timings inevitably ran over or we had a technical hitch. I think most people were actually unaware of what was happening behind the scenes to make things happen. I was lucky enough to have my husband there as my legs, running between people with messages, and sorting out issues for our members and team. Our venue was comfortable, the food good (as many members came up and told me – it was a special menu specially requested by Lipoedema UK – as we like to practice what we preach). The location and scenery were outstanding – plus there was access to a pool, which really made the weekend more than just a conference. As usual there were not enough hours in the day for all the questions and conversations we wanted to have. I observed old friends meeting up and new friendships being formed, which was amazing and just the kind of support we like to see between our members. Sharing experiences and feelings is a key part of all our events.
Welcoming those recently diagnosed or on the path to diagnosis is also a privilege – their experience at a first conference ultimately helps shape their journey with lipoedema.
Our exceptional Nurse Consultant Team led by Mary Warrilow, used their professional skills to assess and diagnose everyone on the list – despite being a nurse down due to illness.
Subsequently they missed out on all of the conference, forsaking any free time for their own attendance at presentations. We are indebted to them for their professionalism and their
compassion – these consultations are a unique feature of our conference and not available anywhere else.
Our exhibitors and sponsors went above and beyond too, with stands displaying the different types of compression and accessories, helping people to find solutions in an extremely practical way.
We had Angela looking after the Lipoedema UK stand, with the Lipoedema UK response to NICE report, the latest book on Lipedema, plus her amazing Pear Brooches which were available for a
donation to Lipoedema UK. Our special Lipoedema UK family of Sandra and her girls Charlotte and Georgina introduced our LEGACY Stand for the first time – displaying great merchandise like
tee shirts, water bottles etc. All now available HERE
Our keynote speakers came to us in person, via recorded video and live links – considering everything involved, this really went quite smoothly and the quality of questions asked by our
members were top class. Thank you for such relevant and detailed questions – our speakers were impressed by the thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations. We were lucky to have
amazing speakers who were able to communicate so much expertise to us in such a short space of time and touch our hearts. All of them gave their time as volunteers too and we can’t thank them
Conference is a time to share experiences, find support and camaraderie – and this one really felt like a warm gathering, where everyone was included. Our conference could not work without all
these strands knitting together. It is a unique blend of factual information from healthcare professionals, demonstrations, research, activities, workshops and exhibitors, alongside emotional
support and friendship.
We can only run the event through the sheer generosity of our exhibitors. speakers and donors – without them the cost would be prohibitive – and so many living with lipoedema would not be able
Don’t worry if you missed this special event, many of the presentations and speakers will be
featured again in Lipoedema UK’s member’s Health & Wellbeing sessions. Keep a look out for dates and further information in our Newsletters.
To every person who donated and sponsored us, and to everyone who attended in many varied roles, talking from the heart and with such passion, in every capacity – THANK YOU.
You made the event a success – proving ‘Together, We Can Beat Lipoedema.’