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My Trip to Washington D.C. - Making a Difference

by You're the C. on Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Blogger and American Heart Association Volunteer Leader, Doug Chew talks about his recent trip to Washington D.C. where he met with lawmakers to advocate for NIH research for heart disease.

The American Heart Association gave me an opportunity to make a difference on June 6th when I traveled with Dr. Isabella Grumbach from the University of Iowa to Washington D.C., to lobby Senators Grassley and Harkin, and Representatives Boswell and Loebsack to protect the National Institute of Health from the funding cuts scheduled for January of 2013. Dr. Grumach was invited because she is head of a medical research lab at the University of Iowa concerning heart disease; I was invited because I survived a serious heart event in December of 2008. Along with Kristy Anderson of the American Heart Association we personally met with both Senators and the staff of congressmen Boswell and Loebsack. 

Our message was strong: Dr. Grumbach described the important genetic research she was doing to prevent and even reverse heart disease. With such advances in genetic research, there has never been a better time to focus resources on cure and prevention of heart disease. Yet, cuts in medical research jeopardize our nation's status as the world leader in medical research, as other countries increase their investment by double digits. In addition, declining funding will cost Iowans well-paying research jobs, among them the cutting-edge jobs that can spin off into new entrepreneurial enterprises.

There is also the personal side of heart disease. I am alive because of the advances in research in heart disease. I represent thousands of heart disease survivors and, sadly, thousands of people who did not survive it. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America. We asked that Congress use all our resources to stop this deadly killer. 

Did we make a difference? Here is one response we received from Senator Grassley's office: "Thanks for taking the time to come out here and tell us your story. Your personal advocacy really does make a difference. Let me know if I can do anything for you."

Each of us has a role to play in the fight against heart disease. I am grateful to the American Heart Association to allow me to speak on their behalf in Washington DC. 

Doug Chew 
Volunteer, American Heart Association 

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