For the next 36 days (from March 28 to May 2), I will be contacting and writing about 36 extraordinary members of the House of Representatives. They are all extraordinary in that they form the bipartisan Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus, and so they strive to address the unique needs of the spina bifida community in the U.S. My “mission” is to write to them, and urge them to make quality of life, and not solely prevention, a priority on their agenda in Congress. It has come to my attention that education about spina bifida is critical during all the stages of development– from planning to prevent spina bifida through the consumption of folic acid, to comprehensive education about spina bifida once it is diagnosed. We need to educate, starting with the physicians and other healthcare providers, so that they will be made aware of the potential that each child with spina bifida possesses.
I see this Congressional Caucus as a great starting point, as they have already committed to educating their colleagues in Congress about spina bifida.
If there’s one thing people can sense right now about the current political climate, it’s that Americans are about as jaded as can be when it comes to politicians. Even I grow weary of them from time to time, which is why I am continually surprised to read that today’s congresspeople weren’t always politicians.
As a matter of fact, Congressman Vic Snyder of Arkansas was, of all things, a practicing family doctor! During his fifteen years as a physician, he volunteered his medical services on missions to refugee camps in Thailand, Honduras, and Sudan.
While in the House of Representatives, he has served on: the 21st Century Health Care Caucus, the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, the Diabetes Caucus, the Oral Health Caucus, the COPD Caucus, the Vision Caucus, the Kidney Caucus, the Medicare Fairness Caucus, and the Omigosh-I-can’t-think-of-what-the-heck-else-to-name-another-caucus Caucus.
Alright, consider that last one your April Fool’s joke! But *AHEM* in all seriousness, it is clear that Rep. Snyder has devoted a huge part of his life to serving his people, whether patients or constituents, in matters of health quality.
Unfortunately, this paragon is retiring from Congress this year. But, it’s not too late for me– and for you— to send the Congressman one final message that will encourage him to make his last days in the House matter to the spina bifida and hydrocephalus community.
By the way, in case any of you are having trouble finding a way to contact our congresspeople, please visit the House of Representatives’ official Web site at www.house.gov. There, you can find an alphabetical listing of representatives, and when you click an individual’s hyperlinked name, you will be redirected to that representative’s official site.
All of them have addresses listed for their district offices, as well as an address at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
It is my understanding that you can only use E-mail for congresspeople in your district, but you can send snail mail to any representative.
Before I go, there’s just one update I’d like to share with you! You may recall that I profiled musician/songwriter Spencer Day on “Day 209.” Well, I may have been a little overwhelmed yesterday in telling you about my interview with “One Voice Radio,” but Spencer replied to my posting on his Facebook fan page yesterday afternoon! He replied, “Hi Laurita! Thank you so much for posting this. I must confess, prior to reading your link I wasn’t aware of Spina Bifida or how many people it affects. Please keep me posted as you continue to raise awareness for Spina Bifida and how I might be of assistance. Sending you peace and love, SLD.”
I honestly didn’t expect such a candid response. What’s more he seems interested in this cause! OMG!!! Okay, now that I got the inner-13-year-old out of my system, I can tell you that I am really optimistic about the near future. I think this humble initiative is on its way, and I hope we will see a great many positive changes very soon!
“Sending you peace and love,” (because that’s what Spencer likes!)