....is one week away! It's the Annual HLAA Convention 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee from June 18th - 21st at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort. Ever since Jennifer and I went to our 1st HLAA Convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, we promised ourselves that we would not miss another convention. It was a life-changing experience for both us to meet with other people "just like us." And for the first time in our lives, it was a "perfect world" because we didn't have to struggle to hear or understand what was going on around us. Every single session and event is transcribed, captioned and interpreted. I, along with many others, look forward to this event and we are ALL getting excited about being under one roof again, seeing old friends and making new ones!
This year promises to be a FANTASTIC convention. I've "heard" that over 400 rooms are registered and that doesn't count the persons staying in nearby hotels or who live in or around Nashville. The workshops and seminars are wonderful and very informative. The Opening night features Vint Cerf, from Google who is considered to be the "Father of the Internet." He also has a hearing loss and his wife, Sigrid, has bilateral cochlear implants after wearing hearing aids for 50 years. I cannot wait to hear their stories and get their autographs on my HLAA magazine!
The Convention is also the 30th Birthday Celebration for HLAA and there will be a Birthday Party on Friday night. My neighbor, Tom Vorjohan, is part of the "entertainment" for the party and promises to be GREAT!
There is also a Research Symposium sponsored by the Deafness Research Foundation where they will be giving an update on the Latest Hair Cell Regeneration Research. My brother, Doug, is very interested in this research and is traveling from Ohio specifically for this. I'm so excited that he is coming and cannot wait to introduce him to the Convention experience and to my friends!
The Exhibit Hall is something to see & experience, as well. One can see and try many different assistive devices, cell phones, telephones, gadgets, weather alerters, fire alarms, and other new products and get a wealth of information on how to deal with and cope with hearing loss. Hearing aid and and cochlear implant manufacturers will have booths, too, for support and information. You can find out more about the exhibitors HERE! Even though the registration has closed online, anyone can still come and register in person for a day or two on site. And, entry to the Exhibit Hall for visitors is FREE with a pass that can be obtained at the registration desk. See http://www.hearingloss.org/ for more information.
An offsite trip to the Grand Ole Opry is planned, too! And if there is time, there is much to see and do around Nashville. I would encourge anyone to stop by the Nashville Library Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing in Downtown Nashville to see the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Section. Friday morning would probably be the best time for this trip. Due to recent budget cuts, the LSDHH library is only open from Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m - 2 p.m. or by appointment. Call the director, Sandy Cohen, at the library at (615) 862-5750 for an appointment to see this particular section. It is WORTH the trip!
If you cannot make it, you can keep up with the Convention through the Convention Blog starting on June 18th. Abbie Cranmer, is the featured Blog Host this year and she is absolutely wonderful. She was one of my roommates last year in Reno and has a great sense of humor!
I plan to be there early on Wednesday morning at the Nashville airport to greet anyone coming in that day! And will work at the Convention Booth until 4 p.m. I'll be the one with a big smile on my face (and will be wearing RED, my favorite color!) Hope to see you there!
P.S. If you are coming, leave me a comment or email me at ldpullinsATgmailDOTcom so I can look for you!