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Chantelle Takes CHARGE

By August 26, 2019 May 1st, 2020 No Comments

Chantelle, who is no stranger to the CHARGE conference having been countless times, had this to share: I had a fantastic time in Dallas! I met with friends and made new friends as well. I had so many wonderful and sweet memories. One happened at the airport before I even got to the plane. Jason, another consumer with CHARGE syndrome, came up to me and asked me (with no prompting from his IC or IV I might add!) if I was his friend. Yes Jason, you ARE my friend! Highlights of Chantelle’s experience included meeting with parents from around the world, enjoying the ‘lazy river’ at the pool party, interacting with others with CHARGE syndrome and participating in panel discussions. Two of my favourite sessions were done by a panel of siblings with CHARGE and the other was done by parents with adults who have CHARGE. In these sessions I gained some knowledge on how to better approach facilitating the hard of hearing peer support group I co-facilitate once a month in Brantford. At the basket auction I won a weighted blanket and a certificate for a painting of a pet that has passed away. I felt so happy to have won these special items. I also talked with a family of a two year old boy with CHARGE. I was blown away with how much ASL this guy knew and he had quite a good sense of humour, because my name sign was similar to the ASL sign for cat, he asked if I liked cats. I showed him pictures of my cats and I think it is safe to say he loves cats as much as I do! Chantelle volunteered at the registration table greeting people, and at the sales table Friday night and Saturday night Chantelle also donated some of her artwork and a copy of the memoir collection that has her memoir in it. I am so grateful that I was able to get a chance to go back to another conference. I learned a lot about truly accepting and enjoying who I am and being calm in new places. I was able to meet with a mother who wrote a book of her family's journey with CHARGE syndrome. It made me even more empowered to continue my own writing goals. I enjoyed greeting people as they registered for the conference and volunteering in between sessions. I know my goal is to present at a smaller conference, but several presenters said they thought there should be more presenters by adults with CHARGE. I think I will set my goal higher, I will aim to present at the International CHARGE Conference!