Hello and welcome to this special Christmas edition of our Leaker Life newsletter.

As we approach the festive season and New Year beckons, it's customary to look back on the year that was and reflect: and wow, what a busy year it's been for both the CSF Leak Association and leaks more generally!

January saw us open up for membership and we're now approaching 150 members with a steady flow of people continuing to join us each month, which is just fantastic. This exceeds what we had expected for year one and helps to strengthen our voice in campaigns and when working with other organisations.

February saw the first ever #LeakWeek awareness campaign on social media, with activity here in the UK, the USA and in other countries around the globe. This event is certain to go from strength-to-strength each year, so please look out for announcements in the near future and get involved in the push to raise awareness far and wide.

At Easter, we held our first full AGM and elected a new Board of Trustees. Some familiar faces were re-elected and we also welcomed on board a new trustee. As the year has progressed, while external commitments have led to two further trustees stepping down, we have been joined by another fresh face and are soon to be joined by one or two more in early 2018.

The organisation cannot operate without trustees and volunteers, so I would encourage anyone who has an interest in CSF leaks and shares our aims to reach out to us and see how they can get involved; if trusteeship isn’t for you, we're always looking for volunteers to help with particular tasks or initiatives, so please do drop us a line and get involved with the charity.

In the autumn, the world's first Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension Symposium was held in California, organised by the Spinal CSF Leak Foundation and Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre. The event was very well attended, with people travelling from around the globe, and the speakers presented a range of fascinating talks about spinal CSF leaks and a wide range of related issues. If you've not yet watched the webinar series from the event, you can do so by clicking here for the patient track and here for the professional track.

Perhaps the most important achievement of 2017 for the charity has been the ground work carried out for our Medical Advisory Committee. We now have a group of top doctors from around the UK signed up and are delighted to announce that the first meeting will be held in London at the end of January 2018. We believe passionately that this committee will provide a key vehicle for raising awareness and driving change within the NHS, and we very much look forward to updating you all on progress from the meeting in the next edition of Leaker Life.

All that remains to be said is Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes,

David Baldwin

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