This is MY journey with MS! I give you my thoughts, feelings, hopes, and prayers. My wish that one day this disease will come to an end. That one day there will be a cure. For now, I hold on to possibility. I HOPE this will help and inspire not only myself but others.
 
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Back from Olympia!

*For a slideshow of photos click on the picture off to the side!*

Advocacy Conference was a great success! Or, at least it is my feeling that it was seeing how there were so many of us who showed up last Friday at the capital to talk to the representatives in our districts. I am especially proud of our group! Little ol' Tri-cities (let me tell you...compared to the western part of the state, the Tri-cities is not very big....and I think we just may have been the only group from the eastern side of the state as well....don't quote me on that though). Anyway...back to the point. There were 17 of us (14 with MS) who traveled to Olympia. :)

The trip started for us Thursday morning. We loaded the bus and traveled the 5 hours to Olympia where we then checked into our hotel rooms. That evening we heard from several speakers, which included Rep. Dennis Flannigan, Nick Federici, Ruth Cashell, Trevis Gleason, and our Governor, Christine Gregoire. I was especially encouraged to hear from the Governor as she spoke about health care issues. Trevis is a hoot! (You may recognize his name because he also has a blog....HealthTalk) I also got to meet some other people that I have talked to, either through working as an Ambassador or through the internet, but had never met in person....so that was great fun! Plus it was nice to see some of the girls from Seattle that I work with on various projects from time to time, but don't get to see (being on the eastern side of the mountains I just talk to them on the phone or we email a lot). lol

Friday was the big day at the capital and I think the traveling did me in a bit. After some breakfast the group of us (there must have been 150 of us total from all over the state) loaded up on several buses wearing orange scarves with the NMSS logo on it headed for the capital. Once there we then split up according to our districts and got to business. Not before taking a few pictures in front of the capital first though!

Two of three of our Representatives were to be there so that is not bad! First off we went to find Shirley Hankins. She was wonderful. She spoke to our whole group about a variety of issues.....ranging from the issues in session to our personal problems and how the issues affected us. She must have spent a good two hours with us. For those of us that had specific concerns she even took down names, addresses, and phone numbers. Then a few of us went to track down Larry Haler. We were told we were not going to be able to speak to him, but we wanted to see if we could catch him. We did! He only had a few minutes but spent some time talking directly with us and listening what we had to say. He was very attentive....they both were and for that I am appreciative.

So, although we may not have made major changes in one day, we definitely left an impression and that is what counts. We also left Shirley Hankins with an orange scarf and both her and Larry Haler were given a red band of hope. Something to remember us by! This has been a wonderful experience and I am more energized to go and do it all over again next year. I have told Ruth (she is in charge of the conference for the chapter) to contact me as things come up throughout the year!

I know that sometimes it seems as if we may not be able to make a difference, but I am here to tell you that we can. It takes time, patience, and persistence. What is that saying....the squeaky wheel? I hope that all of you who read this will be so inclined to write to your representatives and take action in your area. You never know who will be listening or how your story will change the life of another! Even something as simple as making a phone call or writing a letter can help. But, if you do nothing where does that get us. These issues that we are fighting for don't just impact you and me. They impact every person who has or may ever have a disability. Not necessarily just MS. That is HUGE! If I can do something to make life easier for the next person, then why not?

I hope you are all well. Take care!

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I was diagnosed with MS in 2004, have been through all of the FDA approved treatments I qualify for and now am participating in the HALT MS Study. This is my story...my life with MS (among other things).

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