In early October, GLHF hosted a Men’s Retreat at the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan as part of Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation’s (GLHF) new Community Connections Series. The group of men headed out onto Lake Michigan for a fishing charter. Back on land, they bonded over shared experiences and stories about living with a bleeding disorder. Both the lake and resort served as a natural and welcoming environment that sparked friendships. One attendee shared that “It was very nice to enjoy the day with other adults who have a common bond.”
GLHF’s Community Connection Series offers programs designed to help foster relationships between those living with a bleeding disorder. It is our hope that these programs give individuals and families a new sense of community and support. “To see how these men interacted and how they were able to talk so openly about their bleeding disorders with each other was remarkable,” said Karin Koppen, Program Services Coordinator and Camp Director. “Because of the comfortable setting, discussions around their bleeding disorders came up in a much more organic way.”
The group was energized to get back together in the future. Every one of the men said that they were excited and would attend another retreat. “I am not a person who really texts, emails, calls or uses social media,” said one man. “But I would respond to every one of these men if they reached out to me.”
GLHF strives to offer unique programs for people with bleeding disorders — including groups that bring people together in a way that’s designed for individual people within the bleeding disorders community. “We want people to find support and strength with other individuals that intuitively understand each other’s everyday lives. The Men’s Retreat is one of those programs,” said Karin.
Another participant shared that “It gave me a chance to share things that I don’t share with most people. I don’t like to draw attention to myself in the form of pity, so I don’t share my condition with many people. I prefer to be known as the guy who is nice, hardworking and smart versus ‘are you okay, are you sure you can do that?’ At the Men’s Retreat, everyone was the same.”
“GLHF will continue to find new ways to reach people with bleeding disorders to strengthen the community atmosphere,” said Karin. “Our goal is to create the right environment for individuals, allowing them to be comfortable to talk about their bleeding disorders.”
GLHF’s Community Connection Series
Our new Community Connection Series is designed to support adults and children living with a bleeding disorder, and their families, with events that bring our community together. Our full calendar of events offers the chance to build connections, share stories and information, and avoid feelings of isolation that often accompany a chronic disease. Our supportive community opens the door to opportunities and friendships that help our clients live full and rich lives. We hope to see you at a Community Connection Series in the future!
The Community Connection Series includes the following programs:
- Men’s Retreat
- Women Bleeders and Caregivers
- Common Grounds
- Community Baseball Night
- Bleeder and a Buddy