Day 252- Rep. Donna M. Christensen (D, U.S. Virgin Islands)

Is there a doctor in the House? Well, technically, there are several. And now, thanks to Rep. Donna Christensen, there is one more on the Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus! Rep. Christensen is a non-voting delegate who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands in the House of Representatives.

While protecting the interests of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Christensen tackles health issues in Congress.

Now, although she can’t vote on House decisions, it seems her presence in Congress really packs a punch. Congresswoman Christensen was elected Second Vice-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus’ Health Braintrust.

Rep. Christensen was appointed to the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. A board-certified physician, she maintained a private practice from 1975 until she was elected to Congress in 1996.

As a member of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, Rep. Christensen helps oversee issues pertaining to other territories, like the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. What a great variety of some of the most pressing issues in the world. I’m encouraged by her priorities.

I want to take a moment now to thank my beautiful, amazing, wonderful family. After Church today, I went out for dinner with Mom, Aunt Giny, Kevin, Carolina, Andrea and Nayomi. We had a fantastic time! In keeping somewhat with the Mother’s Day theme tomorrow, I think it’s important to recognize just how pivotal my family has been in keeping me sane…spina bifida and all. They’re the ones who have truly, unconditionally stood by me, and will continue to do so. With them, I feel perfectly normal– most of the time.

To those of who who have spina bifida, or any other chronic condition that sometimes makes you feel like you’re “different,” I have to say that it’s moments like that when you’re wrestling your eight-year-old cousin (*cough* Andrea *cough*) for that last crumb of dessert that you know your family cannot and will not ever see you as “different.” They won’t see you as different, because, in the context of your family unit, you’re, well, normal. And no one in your family will ever pity you enough to let you have that last bite! (That is the downside, my friends.)

Tonight, while saying our goodbyes outside the restaurant, five-year-old Nayomi looked at me and said with unmistakable conviction, “You’re part of my family.” It was a proud statement, not a dubious assumption, and she said it with the cutest smile on her face that I just had to kiss her again.

Yes, Nayomi. For better or for worse, I’m part of your family. God help anyone who tries to change that.

Love and Blessings,

Laurita

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