Each year the CFIDS Association leads Lobby Day, where people with CFS, their family and friends canvas Capitol Hill, meeting face-to-face with lawmakers about the effects of CFS and the needs of CFS patients. And each year the power of this effort not only helps improve public policy but also enriches the lives of the people who participate.
Elly Brosius, who’s been to numerous Lobby Days, puts it this way, “Lobby Days are laudable! While attending requires huge effort, doing so is empowering, educational and very effective personally and for the CFS community.” She continues, “Before I even knew this year’s date, I had ‘Lobby Day 2007’ written across my calendar!”
For some, it’s the interaction with other CFS patients that makes the difference. Lobby Day 2006 participant Alyson Butcher from Texas shares, “This was the first chance I’ve had to meet others with CFS. Needless to say, I was deeply moved to meet and spend dedicated time with others like me.”
Treva Bergeran, whose daughter has CFS, was equally moved by the fellowship. She says, “Seeing my daughter able to interact with CFS patients was memorable. This was her first chance to speak with other people with the illness. It helped her understand CFS better.”
Elly agrees. “Lobby Days give me so many amazing and memorable moments and opportunities for new and rekindled friendships. It’s very special to be with people who accept you and who are working to make a difference in the lives of all people affected by this illness.”
It’s that sense of making a difference on a national level that inspires other Lobby Day participants. Alyson explains, “This was my first time doing anything like this. I can’t even begin to express how empowered I felt (and still feel) after this amazing experience. Seventeen-year-old Hallie Kretsinger from Kansas—another first-time lobbyist—agrees. “It was a joy to get to know the people in my group and to work with them to send our message to our representatives in Congress.”
Cheri Borsky also describes feeling empowered, not just on Capitol Hill but in her life back home in Maryland. She says, “The facts I learned at Lobby Day have made me a better advocate for myself on a day-to-day basis with friends and acquaintances.”
So whether you’re a veteran Lobby Day participant like Elly and many other men and women who return each year, a newcomer like Allyson and Treva—even a young person like Hallie—the CFIDS Association invites you to take part in making a difference on Capitol Hill. We’ll introduce you to others from your state or region, provide the training, set up the meetings your group will make, support you throughout the day and celebrate your accomplishments! But in the end, it’s your participation, your voice, that makes it possible.
See you in Washington.
The CFIDS Association, through your donations and support, fights for the rights of people with CFS and their families by advocating for increased government funding of research and improved legislation regarding CFS.
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