Hi, my name is Karen Fraser and I’m honored to be your REACH Coordinator.
I live in Fayetteville, Georgia. I was born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania, then lived in Florida for 33 years until moving to Fayetteville in 2014. I was married for 27 beautiful years to the love of my life, Ron, who I lost to Alzheimer’s Disease in 2013. I have 3 wonderful adult stepdaughters, and five fantastic grandchildren.
I’m a ZZ Alpha, diagnosed in 1995 after several years of going to different doctors to find out why I was always fighting long-lasting colds, sinus infections and bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia. After my diagnosis, there was no program like REACH available to me, and it was frightening and difficult to try to navigate my way through this new reality. I know many of you have that same feeling, and I’m so glad the REACH program is here to help! I am very fortunate that my emphysema and bronchiectasis are both VERY minor, and my lung function is normal – I’m not on augmentation therapy. Having been a REACH subscriber since the program’s inception, I have appreciated having my health monitored. My doctor and I are paying attention to any declines in my condition so I will be able to take any steps necessary to maintain my health in the future. Knowledge is power!
I have been involved in the Alpha-1 community since my diagnosis in 1995 through my work with the Alpha-1 Foundation, serving on the board, and as their Community and Development Relations Coordinator. I was also a support group member of the Central Georgia Alphas. I’m one of the original members of the Research Registry and have been an active participant in research studies since 1996.
The silver lining of having Alpha-1 is that I have met the most wonderful and inspiring Alphas through the years and developed lifelong friendships. I feel that we are all family – since this is a genetic disorder, we are Alpha “cousins”. As your REACH Coordinator, please know I’m always here for you to answer your questions, and to help you in any way I can in your journey.