May 4, 2016

Mission, Vision and History

Neuropathy Alliance of Texas’s Mission to Empower the Community

Neuropathy Alliance of Texas’s mission is to empower the neuropathy community to live their best lives and to support neuropathy research.

Our vision is that anyone in Texas with or affected by neuropathy receives the support and education they need to more effectively handle the disease and live to their fullest potential.

History of NATX:

In 2009 Nancy Herlin and Marjory Haddix met because of thin walls in a doctor’s office.  They shared their experiences of caring for a family member with CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy), a type of neuropathy that is caused by autoimmune disease.

Neuropathy Alliance of Texas

Nancy and Marjory realized how comforting it was to talk with someone who had been through similar experiences and how much information they wished they’d had earlier in their journey. They decided to start an organization for people affected by neuropathy to share information and provide support for patients and caregivers and named it Hands Feet & Heart (HF&H).

In 2010 HF&H enlisted the help of Ann Garrett, who had led a group in the Austin area several years earlier. HF&H became the Texas chapter of the Neuropathy Association (which in 2015 closed and became the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy).  25 people attended the first support group meeting, and over 300 people participated in HF&H’s first neuropathy awareness fundraiser event in May 2010.

By October 2011, HF&H was serving over 150 people in Central Texas. With the help of State Representative Donna Howard, the organization successfully lobbied the 2011 Texas House of Representatives to proclaim the third week in May as Neuropathy Awareness Week.

In 2013 HF&H added a third support group in Austin and purchased a lending library for each group, serving over 330 clients. In 2014, meeting attendance rose 25% to almost 500 people, and HF&H added a patient self-assessment program.  Hands Feet & Heart then changed its name to Neuropathy Alliance of Texas (NATX).

In 2015 NATX completed an intensive business development plan, became financially self-sustainable, and hired its first paid employee.  In 2016, while being primarily run by volunteers since inception, NATX was finally able to hire its first paid Executive Director, Kelli Craddock and grew its network of patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to over 700 people.

As NATX moves toward the future, much work needs to be done to increase the support for those in Central Texas and also expand to other major cities within Texas.