Alphas, friends, and family came together on August 6, 2023 for the Step Forward for Alpha-1 Colorado Walk and Picnic. The annual tradition resumed this summer, after a hiatus due to the pandemic. The Alpha-1 Foundation hosted an Alpha-1 Education Day the day before, August 5th, with local Alpha-1 experts, patients, family members and industry partners.
The annual picnic, hosted by Dr. Robert “Sandy” Sandhaus and his wife Dot, joined together the Denver Alpha-1 community for an afternoon of Alpha-1 awareness, support, and camaraderie. Attendees heard from Jon Hagstrom, chair of the board of directors, Scott Santarella, president and CEO, Dr. Robert Sandhaus, Clinical Director, Dr. Jeanine D’Armiento, Dr. Karina Serban, and Dr. Patrick Hume, the newest Alpha-1 Clinical Resource Center doctor at National Jewish Health in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
For 30 years, the Sandhaus’ have opened their home to the Denver Alpha-1 Support Group and local Alphas for a beautiful lunch and waterfront activities. The annual picnic tradition started as an annual get together of the local support group and after about five years it became larger with the help of the organization. We are grateful for their generosity and hospitality year after year. It is truly an event that everyone has looked forward to each year.
“The Alpha-1 picnic that Dot and I have hosted consecutively every year for 29 years, until COVID, had been a tradition that we, as well as the Alpha-1 community looked forward to and enjoyed immensely. To be able to add the 30th, and likely our final picnic this summer, allowed us to enjoy one last bash together before we let others pick up the torch to unite the Alpha-1 family in celebration.”Dr. Sandhaus
It would not be a complete picnic in Denver without the delicious Bonnie Brae Ice Cream generously donated by Judy and Ken Simon. A “Denver Tradition”, the family-owned local ice cream shop serves the best quality ice cream and has provided a friendly gathering for its neighbors since 1986. This year, picnic attendees got to taste two of their original signature flavors – peaches and cream and chocolate and cappuccino. Over the years Bonnie Brae Ice Cream has developed over 120 different flavors of ice cream in addition to 36 different sherbet and sorbets and 12 Vegan flavors.
Before the picnic, Alpha-1 Foundation leadership including Jon Hagstrom, Chair of Board of Directors, Scott Santarella, President and CEO, and Dr. Sandhaus, Clinical Director, and several Alpha-1 staff joined the teams for a walk around Stern Park in Littleton, Colorado. Top fundraising teams for this Building Friends for a Cure (BFC) event included Team Tom Roxanne Dye ( in memory of her brother Tom), Team Whittakers (Team Captain Michelle Mayo) and Team DeVires (Team Captain Jane DeVires) in honor of their son Brad, a transplant recipient.
Thank you to our Building Friends for a Cure sponsors AlphaNet, CSL Behring, Grifols and Takeda.