Two old friends tell about the start of IF

19 April 2017

A lesson in getting old.... by Pierre Mertens...

An expelled Uzbek killed 4 innocent people ​​with a truck when driving through a shopping street. One of them was a young Belgian woman.  Sweden is slowly recovering from this disturbing drama. But they emerged stronger.   Nobody misused this event to blame foreigners. No politician stood up to blame the others.

Last year Bjorn Ründström had his 90th birthday and left his two large houses on a lake in central Sweden for a small apartment in Uppsala.    7 months after this move I visited him for the first time. It is a beautiful and light place, with a large terrace overlooking a park. He has been an art collector and had to select  carefully what he could take with him. He selected items for quality and memories.    Surrounded by these objects of the past he is now organising this new period of his life.

He was founding president of IFHSB, the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, now known as IF.     IF started in the same year that we began the Flemish association for Spina Bifida in Belgium.

I first met Bjorn at the Malaga IF conference in 1983. I saw him as a very old grey man and called him ‘the mummy.’ He was at that time much younger than I am now. He called me ‘the boy’.    By working with him he proved to be a nice man with a good sense of humour.

We have known each other for 34 years and we worked together for 23 years in this organisation. He left the IF board in 1995 and stepped down in 2013. Two retired presidents share a great deal of history, but I knew very little about the beginnings of IF .    I decided to interview him.   This proved to be a lesson in getting old.

Who decided to start  IF?

BR: ... 

 

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