NPF's far-flung family set to reunite in Chicago

| Steve Bieler

Every two years, NPF hosts the National Volunteer Conference for two days of workshops, roundtable discussions, friendship and fun. The NVC, held in conjunction with our Research Symposium, is open to everyone in the psoriatic disease community, including patients and their families, caregivers, health care providers, scientists and volunteers.

One of the many highlights of NVC is the presentation of the Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award. “This award goes to the person whose volunteering has gone above and beyond the call of duty,” said NPF Outreach Manager Corene Pettit. “The winner has done the most in the past two years to support the mission of NPF: To drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected.”

At the 2015 NVC in San Francisco, the Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award was bestowed upon Alisha Bridges (pictured above) of Atlanta. Bridges, who was a finalist for the award in 2013, has worked tirelessly on behalf of the psoriatic disease community.

She helped launch what would become the first Team NPF Walk in Atlanta (an event that raised $44,000). She’s participated in our annual Capitol Hill Day, and she’s been a speaker on a More Than Skin Deep panel. Bridges also sponsors a $500 Psoriasis Awareness Month scholarship.

Despite these achievements, “I was shocked that I won,” she said. “There were so many great advocates at that conference, so many volunteers doing such great work.”

Bridges attended her first conference in 2011. “Before that, I was not doing any sort of outreach,” she said. “I was ashamed of my psoriasis. I didn’t have a lot of confidence. If not for the psoriasis community, everyone with psoriasis and the researchers, I’d probably still be in my shell.”

Going to the 2011 NVC energized Bridges. She dived into organizing, advocating and blogging. “I didn’t know how that first conference would change my life,” she said. “It’s important for anyone with psoriasis to become part of a community. You need to surround yourself with people who understand you and what you’re going through.”

Bridges has nothing but praise for her fellow volunteers and for everyone who attends NVC. After receiving her award in 2015, she told the audience, “Technically, we are all winners because we have beat something that we believed could have defeated us.”

See you in the Windy City

The National Volunteer Conference and the Research Symposium will be held Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5, at the Swissôtel Chicago, 323 E Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601. The last day for full conference registration is Friday, July 7! 

Alisha Bridges photo by Michael Carson. 

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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