One letter began Tri-ing by 50's journey

Dr. Mitchell Geffner, Paul Newman, Me and Hello Kitty

Below is the letter I sent one year ago to Dr. Mitchell Geffner at Children's Hospital Los Angeles that started my journey to advocating, awareness building and ambassadorship. He is co-director with Dr. Mimi Kim of the Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Clinic. This was a giant leap of faith and I haven't regretted it at all. In fact, it is what keeps me going. After you read below, follow this link to read about Dr. Geffner's reaction to my letter.
To help the Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, please follow this link ( to learn about my journey with CAH and how you may help support the work of the CAH Clinic. This is the reason I am doing all of this. Thank you in advance!


Subject: Once in a lifetime email from original CAH patient

Dr. Geffner,

This is an email that comes only once in a lifetime. It has taken some thinking about what I want to say.

My name is Brian Edward Hacker. I was born June XX, 19XX and first entered Children's Hospital Los Angeles in the Emergency Department on what I believe was July 2, 1968. My mother was referred to the hospital by my pediatrician who did not know what was wrong with me.

When I entered CHLA, a young, very young doctor, in fact it was her first day on the job, named Dr. Ann Kershnar (Sp?) took my case. As I have been told by my father it took the doctors a while to figure out what was wrong with me.

Well, let's just say that (I helped create) the newly opened CAH Clinic began with me. I was diagnosed with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Salt-Wasting type. (One of) The first patient(s) with that diagnoses at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and one of the first on the West Coast.

I was a patient of Dr. Kershnar's for a while before she moved. I then became a patient of Dr. Thomas Roe. Of course, there were many doctor's familiar with my case. I spent days there for testing and trials, I believe. There were the scheduled visits and unfortunately, the visits to the emergency room when I got sick and my body shut down due to not keeping down the cortef/hydrocortisone/(decadron) or whatever was prescribed at the time.

There's a lot more to my story growing up and I can get into that another time. What I want to tell you is who I am now.

I am a healthy 48-year old man. I have two beautiful daughter's who did not get CAH. Just last year, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon! Yes, this CAH man ran a marathon...26.2 miles! I never would have even given that a thought growing up because I had always been told to be careful of the stress I put on my body. Through training I learned to balance my meds, my electrolytes and my salt intake. The only problem I encountered was shortly after I finished because my doctor and I had not planned to keep the hydrosortisone intake going.

What is next? Well, I plan to be an inspiration for all of those with CAH and their families and compete in a Half Ironman in June 2017 (this has been changed to Sept. 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta). I want to show them that there are things that are possible, that have been thought of as impossible, if proper planning and preparation are followed.

Why am I reaching out now? I have fully come to realize who I am and that CAH is not a hindrance. I have wanted to reach out before, but it seemed silly. I felt no one would care. Time has moved on. CHLA has grown by leaps and bounds. Diagnoses and treatment are so far beyond what I experienced. (I have found out this isn't entirely true) But then, I realized I am the face of CAH. I struggled and still struggle.

There is not much information about people my age from what I can tell. My numbers are way high, but I present as an extremely healthy, marathon running man. Maybe through my encouragement I can help change that.

I got emotional the other night when she (my wife, Merrill) asked why I am suddenly reaching out to the CARES Foundation and CHLA. I rarely, get teary-emotional, but I did this time. I said, "Because it is who I am!"

Hopefully, you find my email of interest and I hear back from you. I am always happy to share more about my life.

Have a great day and keep up the fantastic work that is being done at CHLA.

Brian Hacker
Charlotte, North Carolina

If you could help me in any way, no amount is too small, please visit: Go Fund Me.