Day 298- The Lilly Foundation

While getting caught up in the spirit of the NAHJ Convention & Career Expo, I neglected to write a blog entry yesterday. Again, my apologies to all who were emotionally distraught or traumatized as a result.

The weather is absolutely lovely here in Denver. I arrived in the morning, and what with going to bed around 2 a.m. the previous night, and with the two-hour time difference, added to the increased elevation I am currently at, I was the complete opposite of being high as a kite!

Today, I feel more energized and encouraged by the people I was able to catch up with during the Opening Reception last night, including my dear friends Kevin Olivas and Rebecca Aguilar. I also got to chat with Iván Román, who is Executive Director of NAHJ (and he bought me a soda– chivalry is not dead, people!).

All of my old friends– and some new ones I’ve met so far, have been extremely supportive of the “Holdin’ Out” mission and are looking forward to following wherever this initiative leads.

The NAHJ convention is more than just a “journalism” convention– it’s a gathering of Latinos from around the country (including Puerto Rico!), as well as an expo featuring some of the most recognized companies and organizations.

One company that makes it to the convention each year is Eli Lilly and Company, better known as just Lilly. The pharmaceutical giant also has its non-profit, the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, or the Lilly Foundation, provides grants “to support philanthropic initiatives that are aligned with the company’s business strategy,” according to their Web site.

Using compassion and innovation to manufacture medicines, Lilly is now the "tenth largest pharmaceutical company in the world."

The foundation is particularly interested in funding those projects which address the health-related issues that Lilly is most concerned with, such as endocrinology, oncology, cardiovascular disease, and mental health.

I would like to write to Lilly and Company, and encourage them to focus on spina bifida and potential treatments to allieviate symptoms of secondary conditions as part of their medical research. There are many different areas to choose from in this broad field, including hydrocephalus, bladder and bowel control, and of course, paralysis.

Basically, what is needed here is what I’ve been touting from Day 1– awareness. If we can achieve a vast public awareness of spina bifida, then indeed, we can find treatments that are more effective and less invasive than surgery.

I am very excited about the rest of this week! Tonight, there will be another networking reception, followed by who-knows-what. As always, getting the word out about spina bifida and sharing the “Holdin’ Out” mission with others is in the forefront of my mind, and of course, my heart.

Greetings from the Mile-High City!!

Love,

Laurita 🙂

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Day 298- The Lilly Foundation

  1. Someone

    You should create a section on this site about stereotypes about people with disabilities and why they are wrong. Just a suggestion.

    • Laura

      Hi “Someone,”

      While that is a good suggestion, I think it would be impossible to categorize all the different stereotypes about people with “disabilities” or challenges. I mean, old ones fade and new ones surface all the time. I think the best thing I can do to help combat these stereotypes is to continue portraying people with physical/developmental challenges in a positive light. That is to say, to profile them as “heroes” for the work they’re doing.

      I’m a firm believer in being seen for my abilities, and not my setbacks, which is precisely why I made the conscious decision not to include my wheelchair in the banner photo on my blog, even though in that particular picture, I was in my chair. Even though I’m not ashamed of it at all, I didn’t want the first thing people see to be the chair. I wanted them to first read my writing and decide for themselves whether my abilities trump my setbacks.

      I also believe in giving people the benefit of a doubt. My hope is that people already come to my site with an open mind, wanting to learn about spina bifida and how it affects people, and how people can live their lives normally with SB. In other words, to focus on these stereotypes is to give importance to the most negative aspects of society, and not the positive. I want to encourage people, whether they harbor any misconceptions or not, to do good and to look beyond the physical appearance. If my Web site itself focuses on the negative stereotypes, then I will simply be reinforcing them. I hope that makes sense, and I appreciate and admire your passion for advocacy. Let’s all break down some barriers!

      Laurita =)

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