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Message from WACA President Bill Clifford
Dear Friends,

The World Affairs Councils of America today received heartbreaking news from our colleagues in Philadelphia.

As Council CEO Craig Snyder shares below, a devastating illness has befallen Joan Russell, Vice President of Travel at WAC Philadelphia. It is difficult to imagine what this means for Joan, her family, and her beloved colleagues across the WACA network.

I have known Joan for nearly ten years. Her incredible dedication to our network and her cheerful presence at the WACA National Conference --always presenting the Travel the World program with the flair and substance that has made it so popular -- is an inspiring legacy.

On behalf of WACA, we at the National Office send our prayers to Joan and her family.


Bill Clifford, President and CEO
Message from Craig Snyder, President and CEO 
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

Dear friends and colleagues of Joan Russell:

It is with a heavy heart that I share this tragic news. Joan Russell will not return to her position at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. Recently she underwent a series of tests at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and received the devastating diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD.

The NIH describes this condition as "... a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. It affects about one person in every one million people per year worldwide; in the United States there are about 300 cases per year.

Joan is resting comfortably for now at home with her daughter, Aimee Lee, and husband, Michael. Although she has begun having difficulty walking and tires easily, she has many good hours during the day and is squeezing every drop out of every hour with her family. She has a wheelchair they take on a plane and three weeks ago visited her family in the UK. As the photo here shows, they just recently celebrated Aimee Lee's graduation from Villanova.

As you certainly know, Joan's passion is travel -- for now she is making the most of their time, and this week is on a trip with her family to the Caribbean location where she celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary with Michael just last December.

Joan, Michael, and Aimee Lee would love to hear from friends and colleagues. They are finding the support from friends uplifting during these trying times. It is best to contact them through Michael or Aimee Lee: 

Mobile -- 610.717.6105                         Mobile -- 610.717.7253 

Their home address is: 413 Wyldhaven Road, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

I know you will keep the Russells in your thoughts and prayers.


The World Affairs Councils of America 

1200 18th St., NW, Suite 902, Washington, DC 20036

Phone (202) 833-4557  Fax (202) 833-4555

Email Website