December 2006

Our Holiday Wish

Dear friends and colleagues,

We at LA Kelley Communications wish everyone a Merry Christmas and very happy holidays! It’s been a great year working with you all. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

Best wishes for the new year,

Laurie, Zoraida and Julia

Saturday Night Live!

Saturday night was a fun time: my husband Kevin’s annual corporate Christmas party at New England Biolabs in Ipswich, Massachusetts (incidentally, the hometown of the first person diagnosed with hemophilia in America, in the 1600s). I looked forward to going, not only to meet his colleagues, but to meet with a special one in particular: Karyn. Karyn is the woman behind the $9 million worth of factor we have shipped this year, and the $5 million we shipped last year, and all the millions of units of factor we’ve been shipping for the past 10 years through New England Biolabs. While Julia Long, our director, manages the inventory, boxes the factor, answers the incoming requests and follow through to ensure the factor has arrived to Mongolia, Iraq or Bolivia, it’s Karyn who actually physically prepares the shipment. So this was a fantastic night to meet up with Karyn and thank her in person. She loves volunteering for Project SHARE and appreciates the stories we send about the patients we assist. She’s a mother of three and has a big heart for suffering children. So our thanks to Karyn! And thanks to NEB for showing us that corporate America can have a great heart, great compassion and give back to those in need. Thanks to NEB for helping those who suffer with hemophilia in global locations where no factor, and little hope, exists. It’s the best Christmas present we can ever give.

New Zealand Hemophilia Gets $30m Compensation

I was honored to be invited to New Zealand in 1997 to speak to families about hemophilia, and even though I have only been once, have made life-long friends there. The “Kiwis” are down to earth, witty and fun-loving people, whose charm belies their incredibly hard-working nature. I have to say they are the best people to hang around with for laughs, but are also the most admired for their perseverance, planning and vision.

Our congratulations then to the hemophilia community in New Zealand, which, after a 14 year campaign, has finally won compensation for hepatitis C infection of blood products used to treat hemophilia. About 185 people with hemophilia will benefit from a $30 million package that will provide payments of up to $70,000 per person.

What’s amazing is that screening of donor blood for hep C was not introduced in NZ until July 1992, more than two years after the test first was available.

People with hemophilia and hep C will also get a “written statement of regret” from Prime Minister Helen Clark on behalf of the government. Sadly, 28 people with hemophilia infected with hepatitis C through blood products have died before the compensation ruling was made.

Hemophilia Foundation president Dave McCone said the package was the conclusion of a 14-year campaign. “Improving access to healthcare was the most important aspect of the deal, he said,” reports Again, congratulations to everyone–Belinda, Dave, Nikki, Mike, Colleen–for all your perseverance. We’ll toast you when we next meet! (let’s look for an Irish pub in Istanbul, 2008)

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