A Letter from the Honorary Golf Co-Chair and Parent, Bob Bernstein

October 5, 2016

 

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Dear Friends, 
I am so thrilled to announce to all of you that at this year’s “Latham Centers 7th Annual Golf Classic”, my son Brandon and myself are being honored for our fundraising efforts throughout the years.  While I am just a point person to bring focus to this event’s fund raising efforts, to me all of you are also being honored at the same time for your generous and continued support. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to each and every one of you.  
I’m especially thrilled that Brandon is being included in this wonderful honor.  To those of you who have met Brandon, I don’t think I need to explain what a truly special individual he is, in every sense of the word.  He can make you laugh more, listen more, question more, love more and most of all, inspire us all to be more than we thought we could ever be!  I know that he has done all of these things for myself.
Just to refresh you a bit, Latham Centers is a facility in Brewster, MA on Cape Cod that attends to students up to age 22 in addition to adult home programs who have intellectual, cognitive and physical disabilities. Brandon is a resident student at Latham. Brandon has Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) and Latham Centers is one of the very few facilities world wide that caters to this specific genetic disorder. 
PWS is caused by a genetic mutation of the 15th chromosome.  It is diagnosed in around 1 in 15,000 births.  The main symptoms of PWS are generally associated with PWS are low muscle tone at birth which continues throughout life, very low metabolism, moderate to severe cognitive deficiencies, erratic behavioral issues and the issue most often associated with the syndrome , the inability to realize when they have eaten.  Their hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain which lets you know when you’re full, does not function properly for those with PWS.  Even after a meal, they are still very hungry and have that feeling 24/7 everyday of their lives.  Put this together the low metabolism and you have a formula that can lead to all sorts of issues.  Severe obesity, diabetes, heart disease, scoliosis and at times there have even been cases when individuals with PWS when unmonitored around food have actually eaten themselves to death.  PWS requires life long monitoring of diet and food availability.  It is virtually impossible for someone with PWS to live independently. 
This is where Latham Centers come in.  The amount of care needed for the PWS population along with other residents with various physical and cognitive disabilities requires an endless need for qualified staffing.  As I write this and think about about the Latham staff that cares for my son and treat him with the respect and dignity that he deserves, I realize that no matter what we all do to help make Latham a better place, those who care and help make the lives of individuals like Brandon so full, are truly the most special people in the world.  Unfortunately, hiring and retaining a qualified staff in addition to always striving to keep Latham Centers as up to date as possible, takes funds from many different places.  Year after year, you have all shown so much generosity towards the continuation and evolvement of Latham Centers that you should all feel a sense of pride.  Latham invites each and every one of you to visit its main campus in Brewster MA at your convenience.  I would be so excited for you to see what they have accomplished and see first-hand what affect these accomplishments have had on the students and adults.  
By the way, if any of you are in the area and would like to play golf that day, the Ocean Edge Golf course is a beautiful and challenging 18 hole Jack Nicklaus designed layout.  There will also be a wonderful dinner, silent and live auction (Please note that you can bid on the silent auction via the event link. It will be updated as we near closer to the event).  If you would like to DONATE, learn how HERE.
 

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