The NF Network Coffee Chat Must Go On

Author: Deb McCarthy
Published On: 04/30/2020

In October of 2019 DeAnna, a mom who has a teenage daughter with NF, reached out in search of an NF Support group in Mississippi and to get any information available on NF. Her daughter sees articles and posts on social media and shows on television about individuals with NF and is concerned on how NF will affect her as she gets older. 

Throughout numerous emails, phone calls and after receiving an NF packet of information, DeAnna expressed an interest in finding ways for DeAnna and her family to spread NF awareness and creating an NF community in Mississippi. We decided a Coffee Chat with the NF Network would be a great opportunity to bring together the NF community, share stories, make new friends, learn more about NF and resources available. DeAnna was also connected to Carrie Wylie, who has been the NF Network Walk Chair for the #NFStrong Memphis, TN 5K Walk/Run for over 6 years and has attended the event for all 10 years. Carrie also monitors and contributes to the NF Network Mid-South Facebook group.

After the New Year, DeAnna received confirmation that the Pause Espresso Bar in Laurel, MS was happy to host the Coffee Chat with the NF Network and a date was set for April 18, 2020. Fast forward and given the painful reality of COVID-19 along with our number one priority being the health and safety of our NF community, we went virtual. Instead of canceling our Mississippi Coffee Chat altogether, we invited our local Mississippi community to join us at 12:00 PM CT on Saturday, April 18th for a virtual hangout session on Zoom! 

While acclimating to the new “norm” with stay-at-home orders, working from home and managing her new role as homeschool teacher for her children, on April 12th, just six days before the coffee chat, deadly tornadoes and severe weather spread across parts of Mississippi and Alabama today. These unexpected events still did not deter DeAnna and the other individuals from participating in the coffee chat. 

Although the internet was still a bit unstable, the event carried on and it was wonderful meeting everyone virtually with the ability of putting faces to the names. Even with the virus, tornadoes, and other unforeseen circumstances, we were still able to turn this event into a great opportunity to build community. We were very pleased with the turnout which included individuals who joined us from Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana. Once the pandemic is over DeAnna looks forward to reaching out (face to face) to local businesses and churches to continue raising NF awareness and sharing information on NF. We appreciate all the work and enthusiasm DeAnna put into making the virtual Coffee Chat with the NF Network happen and look forward to working with her and continue growing this group.

For anyone who would like to Stay iNFormed of the latest NF news and upcoming events, we invite you to sign up here. Those of you in the Mid-South region, we welcome you to join the NF Network Mid-South Facebook group here.

Should you be interested in spreading NF awareness and creating an NF community by holding a Coffee Chat with the NF Network, please do not hesitate to contact Breanna Bronowski-Stutsman here at or call 630-510-1115.



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