Dear Compassionate Friends,
A few weeks ago, we wrote to you to share how The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is responding to the Coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it has presented for our national conference this summer in Atlanta, GA. Since that time, we have been watching national developments and considering the many issues surrounding our ability to hold the conference in July.
We want to share with you that we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the national conference currently scheduled in Atlanta, GA, for July 24 to July 26, 2020. This decision has not been made lightly, and we recognize how important the annual conference is to so many of our members in providing community, connection, support, education, and care. Our Board of Directors, staff, Conference Co-chairs, and committee volunteers are as disappointed as many of you may be that we cannot proceed safely and responsibly with our plans for meeting in Atlanta this July.
We know that these are challenging and trying times we are all sharing right now. Some are fighting illness or experiencing the death of a loved one due to COVID-19, while others may have job, financial, or other losses. Many of us are experiencing the sudden loss of control and abrupt change of what we knew, triggering the deep pain of loss we are already experiencing from the death of our child, sibling, or grandchild. We also know that having the support of our TCF community is more important than ever as we experience our individual and collective grief.
Because of this, we are actively and diligently exploring options for alternative ways that we can continue to care for our community and meet some of the needs that come through a national conference. Many details are involved with this, and we will work through them one-by-one to find alternatives including possible later dates for an in-person conference, and ways to connect virtually through this extraordinary time. We truly are in new territory since this is the first time a conference has needed to be canceled due to significant events outside of our control.
We have already seen many volunteers throughout TCF step forward with new ways of serving our members’ needs during this time, and these examples show the heart of The Compassionate Friends. Please know we share this spirit and are committed to continued care for our community and leading the way with innovative ways to engage during this time.
As your new CEO, the Board of Directors and I were particularly excited for this first opportunity to meet in person when we were together in Atlanta this summer. While I’m disappointed this won’t be able to happen in July, I remain very hopeful and optimistic that we’ll all share meaningful time together before long.
We’ll be working with the hotel to cancel existing July reservations. Those of you who already made your reservations should receive a notification of these cancellations soon. Additionally, those of you who are workshop presenters or keynote speakers will receive a separate correspondence in the coming days regarding this.
Please reach out with any questions you may have, and we’ll continue to be in touch with you as we become clearer on additional options.
Stay safe, healthy, and well.
Connor’s Mom & Patti’s Sister
Chief Executive Officer
The Compassionate Friends
President, Board of Directors
The Compassionate Friends
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