When I met Ed in 2005, I was a newbie to the Alpha-1 community. He and I were elected to the board of the Association that year. Previously, I had read his story in the Foundation's Alpha 1-to-1 magazine.
I was touched by his amazing dedication to give back to the COPD, transplant, and Alpha-1 communities. As a mama to two beautiful little girls who have Alpha-1, I was always looking for inspiration. Ed was pure inspiration to me.
In fact, the day we met I will never forget. He sat down next to me and said, “Jen, tell me about yourself, and about those beautiful girls I’ve heard so much about.”
That conversation created a connection.
And that, to me, is the epitome of our precious Ed Brailey – connecting Alphas one-by-one using his subtle charm and unpretentiousness.
When Alpha-1 came into my life, I felt very alone. There were not many parents of Alpha-1 children that I could find at that time.
Ed helped reassure me as I doubted how much of an impact I could make or how much I could help.
I remember the smile that grew upon his face as he said, “Jen, keep up the great work. We need to bring the kids into our group. You being here will help draw out the other parents. We’ll do it together, Jen!”
I couldn’t help but smile in return.
Ed may not have realized how much he cemented my connection to our community, but I know one thing for certain.
I promise to continue the mission until every last Alpha gets the cure.
So thank you, Ed! Our world has an Ed Brailey-sized hole in it. Your dedication, perseverance, and amazing service will be missed.
Long live the Alphas!
God speed, Ed!