We walked up and down long white hallways. Searching for the right offices, we passed American and state flags secured next to plaques with the names of our Congress men and women.
With our t-shirts on, blue bags strapped across our bodies and hands full of folders to deliver – we hit the Hill. And those on the hill noticed.
The girls on Hill staff wearing the cute dress suits said so themselves. Put over 80 CRC advocates on Capitol Hill – we’re sure to turn some heads!
While I want to describe every detail and paint a picture of what happened, I’ll leave you with my three main takeaways as someone new to the Call-on Congress:
- There are members of Congress who fight for us and champion our cause!
- Funding for health and medical research should be a bipartisan issue.
- Never wear heels if you plan to advocate all day on Capitol Hill.
I’ll explain later.
Congressional Champions in our Court
- Congressman Charlie Dent‘s late brother-in-law was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in February 2010.
- Congressmen Jim McGovern’s wife’s best friend from college was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.
- Congressman Donald Payne‘s father (who served in Congress) passed away from colorectal cancer one year ago.
These three men in particular champion the fight against colorectal cancer in Congress. There are many other members who we met with today who “get it” now, too.
Many leaders support our cause and pledged to help us. We hope to see this support play out when it comes to co-sponsoring H.R. 1070 and supporting funding for the CDC.
Medical issues should be bipartisan
I sat amongst advocates and took notes as we presented an award to Congressman Jim McGovern – our 2013 Congressional Champion Award winner. As I admired his unique office decor – ranging from pennants of state colleges, ‘no more hunger’ posters and children’s artwork – it hit me.
I had no clue if he was a republican or democrat.
And honestly – it didn’t matter.
The issues we took to the Hill do not favor one side or the other. They favor the health of the voters and the best interest of the American public.
All politics aside – good policy took the stage today.
Never wear heels to the Call-on Congress
Congressional offices are spread out amongst several buildings which means a long day of walking, stairs and elevators. After awhile the concrete floors get to you, especially in pumps. No pain, no gain – right?
And while I say that nonchalantly, it actually hits a deeper chord.
I’ve been through a lot worse than “I-wore-the-wrong-shoes” discomfort. The journey that led me to walk those halls today was much more painful.
But what I realized is that sometimes – pain is what it takes to see gain.
But it’s those tears of pain that lit the fire under Congressman Payne to support the fight against colorectal cancer. It’s those same tears that brought us to DC this week.
None of us like the circumstances that motivated us to come to Call-on Congress. But I’m so proud to stand amongst many others that pushed through the pain today.
Those who opened their wounds in order to create opportunities for others. Those who channeled their experience with colorectal cancer into advocacy that demands change.
Today, we let go of the pain in order to see legislative gain.
I couldn’t be more proud of this gang.
So tonight – we’re propping our feet up. A celebration dinner is underway.
And after tomorrow, I might or might not ever wear heels again.