Rare Disease Lobby Day/Week was an amazing experience on a number of different levels:
First, I'd never been to DC, so I was able to visit many of our national monuments, government buildings, and historic landmarks such as the Capitol building, the Smithsonian Museums, the National Cathedral, and the Starbucks in Union Station. Sorry I didn't get a picture of the Starbucks. But they're all the same, so you already know what it looks like.
Third, because Rare Disease Lobby Advocates arranged appointments with legislators, I was able to meet with Maria Cantwell, and aides to Rep. Rick Larsen, Rep. Doc Hastings, and Senator Patty Murray. Two fellow Washingtonians, Jason and Andrea--people who suffer from rare diseases themselves--and I walked a gazillion miles on Wednesday as we hiked from one Capitol office building to the next, sharing our stories and the need to fund research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for treatments and cures of rare diseases.
Fourth, while telling Annie's story I was able to also highlight the need for Addison's Awareness, and Adrenal Insufficiency United's goal to get emergency medicine "Solu-Cortef" on all ambulances in the nation.
Thankfully--and in answer to your prayers--everyone we spoke to was receptive, and genuinely seemed to want to help. Honestly, with all the meetings these people had that day regarding the sequestration, for them to have any interest at all in what we were saying was an act of God. I was so impressed with the kindness and compassion of the people we met with.
Coincidentally, on the way home I sat on the plane next to a doctor who works with the NIH on funding grants for cancer research. We had a great discussion on what he does, and of course, I told him all about Annie and Addison's Disease. Her little life touches many hearts, even now.
What's next? Well, I'll be following up with my legislators here in our state, to keep Addison's Awareness and the emergency-medicine-on-ambulances goal up front and center. My next post will detail our next project on all that.
Again--thank you all so much for your prayers & support. I was honored to be a part of the important work that Rare Disease Lobby Advocates, Global Genes Project, and my friends at Adrenal Insufficiency United are doing to help people who suffer from rare diseases...like Annie.