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.
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To help the Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, please follow this link (http://support.chla.org/pages/tri_ingby50) 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!

6/28/16

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
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I could use some support on my journey to IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta on Sept. 24: I slip this last part in because it is something I do not like to do, but it will help me out in the pursuit of my goals. If any of you know a business, individual or something I may not be aware of that would sponsor or support someone doing what I am, feel free to contact me. Any help would be appreciated. I would make any supporter proud to be involved with me and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.