Miracles at the Speed of Light: BEECHAC’s 2010 Conference

By Billy Deegan, HEA Executive Director

Three wise women came to the 2009 ABC/HEA Conference in Pittsburgh last year. Arriving home, they added two more wise women and rolled up their sleeves. With tireless energy, much of their own money, and buckets of love, they planned to sponsor a conference in Australia in 2010. Their hard work paid off on June 11, 2010, in Sydney, Australia, where the BEECHAC (Bladder Exstrophy, Epispadia, Cloacal Exstrophy, Hypospadias Australian Community) “Towards The Future” conference was officially convened. I had the honor of attending.

BEECHAC Conference Program

As in other gatherings in other countries previously, people arrived from all over, tremulous, reserved, eyes drilling holes in the floor. Adults, parents, adolescents, and infants began to fill the room. One member’s daughter sang to us, accompanied by guitar, an inspirational song. As we wiped away a tear, we knew we had come to the right church, the right pew, at the right time. The presentations, panels, workshops, discussion groups, and social gatherings began. We were particularly blessed to have Dr. William Reiner, a urologist and psychiatrist, whose vast knowledge and love of life spirit set the tone for open sharing. Tom Exler and Misty Blue Foster, the dynamic duo from the ABC, by sharing their stories, gave everyone hope and courage in ways that were indescribable.

As always, the miracles were happening at the speed of light. Folks who had never met another like themselves were finally speaking in their “native tongue” and finishing each other’s sentences. I am forever grateful to Christine, Alana, and Imogen, who brought me into their hearts and made me feel like family. I have attended many conferences on this topic, and it is so rewarding to know that for those who attended, they now know that they never ever need to be alone again.