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Emily's Introduction to Advocacy

by Lindsay H. on Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Blogger: Emily C.

My name is Emily Certain and I’m 17 years young. I had the amazing opportunity to venture with my Aunt Karen to Senator Patty Murray’s local office in Tacoma, Washington. My aunt is Karen Dionne, and she is a stroke survivor. Karen had a hemorrhagic stroke at the young age of 37, only four months before her wedding. She had to completely re-learn how to walk but on her wedding day, Karen was walking and dancing all on her own. Her story is very unique and dear to me.

We visited Senator Murray’s office to discuss the proposed cuts in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. These cuts would be damaging because they could delay discoveries that can help heart and stroke survivors. I was not an expert on the NIH before the meeting, but now I understand what the conflicts and issues mean to the people they affect. We spoke with Patty’s aid, Kristine Reeves. She was extremely welcoming and she even took extra time to explain the confusing terms to me.

At the end of our meeting, Kristine explained to us that Senator Murray is typically supportive of health-related issues. She assured us that our message would be on Senator Murray’s desk in just a few short days and that we can expect her support. 

It was a very interesting and touching experience to see how my aunt uses her misfortune to help others. Because isn’t that really what life is about?

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Comments (2)

  • Karen, thanks for introducing your niece to the world of advocacy. We need more people like you and Emily to advocate for heart and stroke patients in Washington! Thanks for all you do!

    — Lindsay H.

  • This was Emily''s first introduction to politics up close, advocacy, strokes and survivors.  She turned 18 only days after this meeting and is now able to legally vote.  It''s hard to know the impact of this meeting and what Emily will do with this interaction at Senator Patty Murray''s office with Kristine Reeves.  I can only imagine the positive influence it will have on her as a legal, voting adult.  Break it down and advocacy can be simple.  In this case, it was an introduction as a constituent letting them know I''m a young adult stroke survivor.  Here is my face.  When you vote on health care bills that have an impact on stroke survivors, those votes have an impact on ME and the millions of other stroke survivors like me.  Like Emily said, she was not an expert on NIH funding before the meeting.  She didn''t need to be and the Senator''s office does not expect you to be either.  Just make an appointment, and tell your story.  

    ~ Karen Dionne, Young Adult Stroke Survivor

    Founder of Reclaiming Ourselves.  An online support group for young adult stroke survivors and their familes.  

    Our Journey On The Road To Recovery

    — Karen D.

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