Today I participated in my first Reach the Day training. Reach the Day is an annual event for members of the childhood cancer community to come on down to Washington and beg/demand/ask nicely for research money. Tomorrow, we converge on Capitol Hill and meet with our House and Senate members. Somehow, I am going to be bringing my own little cancer card named Eve with me to seven different meetings in hopes that her charm and good looks will convince people on appropriations committees to fund the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act for the full $30 million dollars Congress is authorized to give the Children's Oncology Group each year for five years. Did you get all that?
The act was one of 400 out of 11,000 bills that was passed in 2008. It enjoyed unanimous support. Not surprising though when you think of the subject manner. Who in their right mind wants to be the a-hole that voted against funding for childhood cancer research?
We were told that there are 255 appointments that have been scheduled with our reps and senators for tomorrow. Of these, about 20 are with the actual reps and senators rather than staff members. Of my seven meetings, four are with the the elected officials. For once, the numbers are in my favor this time around. Do you hear that, world? 57% is bigger than 5%. I am done with the five-percents.
I haven't been to the House or Senate since a middle school field trip, but I imagine they are just as big as I remember, unlike everything else from childhood.
And what did I do with Natalie, Daniel, and Eve during the meetings today? Ehh, I let some clowns watch them. Well, literally, there were Ringling Bros. clowns there. It worked out perfectly, because there were only a dozen kids there in their own little circus room with about fifteen adults. (I like those odds. I don't think there was much chance for mutiny.) I wonder if any of the clowns would consider running away and joining the Griffiths?
The day was equally exciting and sad for me. I felt twinges of survivor's guilt when meeting all of these parents whose children didn't make it. To be honest, they were more than twinges. But I have to remind myself that I have no reason to feel guilty that my kid survived. I am blessed. And I'm mad that not everyone can say the same thing. So, I guess replacing guilt with anger is acceptable in this case. It's probably better than replacing it with nacho cheese. Emotional eating will get you nowhere, except to the mall for some bigger pants.