It's been a busy week as an advocate!
I've been setting up meetings, working out a schedule to meet with legislator aides and holding down my full-time job!
Next Friday morning, I'll meet with Jennifer, a member of Senator Bob Corker's staff, in Union City, TN to discuss the IBD bill. Then, I'll drive to Jackson, TN to meet with Brad, a member of Congressman John Tanner's staff.
Tomorrow, there is a event in Lexington, TN where Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn will be in attendance. I plan on making the drive to Sparky's Pizzeria and Grill for the one hour meeting. Scott, from Congresswoman Blackburn's office, said this was a "town hall" meeting so there is no guarantee that I'll get to speak with her, but I'll make every attempt to request a moment of her time. Congresswoman Blackburn co-sponsored the previous bill (H.R. 1113), so I hope she will again sign on this time around.
One issue about "The IBD Research and Awareness Act" that comes up a lot is funding. Funding concerns are not an issue with this bill. There is no money associated with the National Institute of Health (NIH) section and very nominal amounts in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) section.
Plus, this is an authorizing bill, not an appropriations bill. So, money for programs at the CDC won't material until the bill is passed and the Appropriations Committee provides funding in its annual spending bill for the CDC. *Thank to Gavin for the additional insight.
I hope that clarifies any misunderstandings and helps everyone realize just how important this bill is for IBD patients. This bill will help existing patients, but also encourage those who may be suffering from symptoms to see a gastroenterologist. If people are aware of the signs, they can be properly diagnosed and start an effective treatment program.
I didn't know anything about Crohn's, colitis or IBD in February 2000 when I was diagnosed. Now, I have a wealth of knowledge and want to help share that so no one has to go through the pain and embarrassment that I experienced.
One last note for today. I would like to thank Nick Collard for all his hard work raising awareness about IBD and fund-raising with his Team Challenge program. Please, support his work by donating to his team and help him reach his goal!
Be well and I wish everyone great health.