From the frosty snowbanks of Fairbanks, Alaska to the salty shores of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and everywhere in between, nearly 400 Arthritis Foundation Advocates from 48 states are converging on Washington, D.C. over the next two days for the Foundation’s 2016 Advocacy Summit.
While in Washington, these Advocates will learn about issues affecting people living with arthritis, then meet with members of Congress, telling their personal arthritis stories, and asking for support. Advocates will ask Congress members to support legislation that will address the severe shortage of pediatric rheumatologists (H.R. 1859, Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act of 2015) and to establish $20 million in dedicated Department of Defense funding for arthritis programs and research.
Sarah Cordrick and her daughter, Violet, traveled from Parma, Ohio to attend. “We want to make a difference and share our story,” said Sarah. “We want to make sure that we spread the knowledge that arthritis affects people of all ages, even kids.”
Sarah and her daughter will be meeting with 5 legislators from their home state.
“I really just want to tell them my story, see where they stand on everything, and if I can, influence them to support the bills,” said Sarah.
Danyle Schiefla’s two sons, Tanner, who is 11-years-old, and Tolan, who is 3-years old, both have arthritis. She and Tanner traveled from Coopersville, Michigan to attend Advocacy Summit.
“I’m most excited to meet Congress,” said Tanner. “Because I want them to know that kids get arthritis too.”
Amy Rabin brought her whole family from Duncannon, Pennsylvania. “We’re very excited to be here,” said Amy. “We’re planning to meet with Rep. Tom Marino and ask him to support the Department of Defense funding.”
Couldn’t make it to D.C. this year? You can still follow along! Stay connected with all of the Summit’s activities by visiting. www.arthritis.org/Summit2016 or following the hashtag #AdvocateForArthritis on Twitter!