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 advocates 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. Stroke survivor Barry Jackson and heart disease survivor Gail Harris-Berry, who are profiled in a complimentary advertisement campaign that is currently running in Capitol Hill newspapers, also shared their personal stories with their fellow advocates, before everyone headed to Capitol Hill for their meetings.
From saving lives to creating jobs, the survivor/researcher pair from each key district were able to give lawmakers their own perspectives on why protecting research funding is critical. Highlights included 10 year-old Olivia Quigley, accompanied by her father Joe, who shared her story of suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while in gym class with Senator Scott Brown (MA). And the Hodge Family, including Maddie Hodge who was born with a supraventricular tachycardia and is alive today due to medial research, who met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada. In total, advocates helped deliver the "research saves lives" message to 62 congressional offices!
Check out the You’re the Cure Facebook page for continual updates and photos of the event!