On Thursday, the 28th of July, the second day of our conference, we held our second Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, “Climbing Capitol Hill for a Cure.” Hundreds of members of the hydrocephalus community braved the intense heat of a Washington, DC summer day to bring our message of increased funding for hydrocephalus research to Congressional representatives.
The day started early at 7:00 am, as conference attendees gathered for breakfast and a session presented by John Lawrence and Amy Rosenbaum titled “Climbing Capitol Hill for a Cure.” The session provided and overview of strategies for approaching Congressional Representatives. This was a perfect addition to Judy Schneider’s hilarious and informative talk of the previous evening, “Getting to the Heart of Congress.”
After John and Amy’s presentations, we broke for the Interpersonal Sessions, after which we grabbed boxed lunches and headed into Washington, DC. In temperatures ranging from 95 to 102 degrees, the seat of government was treated to the sight of hundreds of people from the hydrocephalus community splitting up to keep appointments with their Representatives; crossing and crisscrossing paths on their way to bringing our message to the people who can best help our cause.
The day wrapped up with a reception in the Capitol Building, with drinks, snacks and a public award ceremony. Chairman of the Hydrocephalus Association Board of Directors Paul Gross presented our first-ever Public Service Awards to Representatives Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to recognize their important contributions to the hydrocephalus community.
Our advocacy day was a success even though it had to overcome a heat-wave, a major thunderstorm, a controversial decision by the United States Supreme Court and a vote being passed in Congress. We would like to thank our speakers Amy Rosenbaum, John Lawrence and Judy Schneider, who gave us the tools we needed to succeed; and Amanda Garzon and Amy Weist, whose tireless efforts got us to the hill organized and empowered to succeed.