By Anne Gammon
3 Feb

Celebrate Heart Month with Advocacy Day

Monday, February 03, 2014

The deadline to register for this year’s Advocacy Day, which is Feb. 26-27, is in just a few days. If you have never attended, please consider doing so; an empowering and inspirational day awaits.

The first year I attended was in 2009, representing a pediatric organization as our daughter with CHD, Shay, was just 8 years old. For so many years, we had thought of Shay’s life in terms of days and eventually years, but never decades. At first, Advocacy Day was a personal affirmation that our daughter would become an adult. After attending, it was not just about our daughter’s future. It was about the many adults with CHD whose stories shared a theme—loss to care and the resulting adverse health costs. Something had to change.

Advocating for the Congenital Heart Futures Act was both exhausting and exhilarating. But once it passed, why continue attending?

  • Funding: To keep and increase funding for CHD issues we must keep communicating with our legislators. If we don’t care enough to push the discussion, why should they fund it?
  • Buzz: There are many groups daily advocating for their cause. Annual meetings keep the lines of communication open and can create relationships. Multiple legislative aides either remembered me or another South Carolina constituent from previous phone calls or meetings.
  • Community: Advocacy Day is a rare opportunity to join together as a community—adults, parents, medical professionals. I first met two of my biggest inspirations for involvement in ACHA, George Warren and Steve Catoe, at Advocacy Day 2009. You will meet people from all walks of life, each with a unique story, but with a common goal and fight.

I encourage you to look at your calendars to see if you can give of yourself the last few days of Heart Month. To register by this Wednesday, February 5, click here!

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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.