"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
The New Year is off to a quick start, and as we look ahead to our goal of passing the Lymphedema Treatment Act (LTA) in 2018, I am amazed at what our relatively small group of advocates have accomplished. The LTA is one of the most supported healthcare bills in Congress with more than 350 bipartisan cosponsors. None of this would be possible as a solo endeavor.
If you’re familiar with my story, you know I never envisioned that I’d be lobbying Congress. I was a new mother, simply trying to ensure my son would have the care he needed to grow up and lead a healthy and productive life. Advocacy was born from necessity, and I soon met others with similar stories
As we prepare for our Lymphedema Lobby Days next month, it is a reminder that anyone from anywhere can be an advocate. Our Lobby Days bring people together from across the country, and attendees range in age from young children to seniors. Everyone brings their own set of skills and experiences to the cause, but most importantly, they bring their story. Patients, caregivers, fitters, therapists and healthcare providers each have a unique and important perspective to share.
One of the most enjoyable parts of Lobby Days for me is being able to participate in meetings with patients and their caregivers, and watch them find their voices as advocates. They become empowered and are part of creating change that benefits not only themselves, but also the millions nationwide who are affected by lymphedema. In the end, we participants gain more than just coverage for compression supplies and garments; we gain lifelong skills to help us navigate future challenges.
How can you advocate for the Lymphedema Treatment Act? The easiest first step is to contact your members of Congress by e-mail or phone. Next you can try to meet them in person. This doesn’t require a trip to Washington, DC, you can attend a local event they host or request a meeting at a district office. Hearing directly from constituents is the most effective means to gaining support for the LTA.
Please visit our website and look for the “How You Can Help” menu along the left for these and other free and easy ways to get involved and make a difference. You also can share your story on Juzo’s Facebook page (and read others’) about why lymphedema therapy should be covered by insurance and tag your representative and senator.
Together, we can and will pass the Lymphedema Treatment Act!