T-minus 56 hours and counting . . . it’s Saturday morning and we are getting ready to drive down to Washington DC. Our first order of business will be packing up our daughter’s college room to bring her back home for the summer.
But the second order of business is the one you care about: Our meeting with Senator Scott Brown will be on Monday at 5 p.m. in his Capitol Hill Office.
You surely remember how I reached out to the Senator via this blog a couple of weeks ago, and the response we all got from reading it, commenting, sharing it and letting Sen. Brown’s office know we all agreed. I heard from the diabetes community, from the people who attended the first meeting with me, from friends and family, from strangers who care about diabetes and the cure, from people from other advocacy groups who want Senator Brown to listen to them, from the woman who inspired me to write (I invited her to come along but she was unable to. She’s lookign forward to hearing the results though). I heard from quite literally thousands of people, many of whom reached out to the Senator themselves. This meeting is absolutely a result of your actions after I took mine. And I want to make sure you all know that my goal is to represent all of you in that meeting.
I have great hope for it. As I said in my first blog, I am absolutely into wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. When you have a loved one with diabetes (or any other difficult disease or situation), you don’t have the luxury of simply giving up. I vowed 14 years ago that nothing would stop me from doing all I could to get support for a cure for diabetes, and certainly an unusually difficult day on the hill would never do that. So I go in with an open mind and full of hope.
That said, I have goals. And responsibilities. First and foremost will be to make sure Senator Brown knows what it means for a person to live their life with Type 1 Diabetes. He will hear that from my daughter, who is attending with me. I want him to understand that we all were left with no choice but to deal with this and that so often (even each day) we are still left nearly defenseless to the havoc diabetes can play on our lives. I want him to not just understand that but embrace it.
I also want him to understand that our community is a connected, vocal, passionate and powerful one. (I am kind of thinking he may have caught onto that by now, though). But I want him to know that we are cooperative too. Should one of us be down to meet with him and he has a bad day, so long as his staff lets us know that he’ll truly listen to what we share with them, that’s going to be okay. But we have every hope he finds it in his heart and elected soul to pay attention to what we are asking for in whatever way he can. He might not always vote our way, but we’d like to truly know that deep thought and true understanding went into the reasons. I remember years ago when there was a vote on the Senate floor to fund diabetes research (this was back before the internet had its power even) and one Senator was still deciding. Via word of mouth, thousands of advocates flooded his phone line. He placed his vote and the funding was in place. And then said, on the record, “I never want to be on the wrong side of that again.” That’s the power advocates have, and we’re showing it here.
I have some specific thinks I hope he’ll be interested in supporting, but I’ll leave that until our meeting and my report to all of you after.
I also want him to think beyond the diabetes community. This whole blog and response and I guess you can say fallout came as a bit of a surprise to me. But it should not have. Because no matter who you are and what you care about (I heard from many, many other organizations and movements and people who care about something; all of whom said this struck a cord for them), there is one thing you crave as an American: an elected official who truly represents you. D or R, Freshman or Senior Statesman/Stateswoman, the thing we expect most of all is their caring about what we think and what we want.
I hope that with this meeting, I can help Senator Brown move closer to doing just that for the diabetes community, other health communities, the people of Massachusetts and everyone in America. That’s all. Of course, I always have been an underachiever. (Tee hee).
I thank you all for your support and promise you I am going there for all of you. Please feel free to comment below on who you are (first names are just fine), why you care about Senator Brown listening (diabetes, another need, or just plain wanting to be represented). I hope it reads like a scroll of national (and international) constituents who want his support.
So: Sign on! I’ll be reporting back in.