On June 6th, over 40 You’re the Cure Advocates from 17 key states came to Washington to urge their Members of Congress to protect funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from automatic budget cuts set to occur in January 2013. If the automatic cuts (or sequester) occurs, the NIH could see cuts that total around 8 percent.
The day started bright and early at a local DC hotel, where our volunteers and participating staff were welcomed by AHA CEO Nancy Brown and Vice President of Federal Advocacy Sue Nelson. After an impressive group photo, AHA President Dr. Gordon Tomaselli briefed advocates about the funding situation and the damage that the NIH could suffer if the automatic cuts occur.
Following a training session on Capitol Hill meetings by Soapbox Consulting’s Christopher Kush, the morning program concluded with a luncheon moderated by incoming AHA President Donna Arnett. Speakers included incoming Chair of the AHA Advocacy Coordinating Committee Dr. Elliot Antman, stroke survivor Barry Jackson, and heart disease survivor Gail Harris-Berry. Barry and Gail are profiled in a complimentary advertisement campaign that is currently running in Capitol Hill newspapers, which shows how NIH research saved their lives.
After the luncheon, our volunteers took to the halls of Congress to meet with their lawmakers and urge them to protect the NIH from funding cuts. Highlights included 10 year-old Olivia Quigley, accompanied by her father, who shared her story with Senator Scott Brown (MA) of suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while in gym class.
Not to be outdone, the Hodge Family, including Maddie Hodge, who was born with a supraventricular tachycardia and is alive today due to medial research, met with Senator Reid from Nevada.
However, all of advocates had a great day of meetings with members and staff. 62 in total!
Great work everyone!
Check out the You’re the Cure Facebook page for continual updates and photos of the event!