Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Tale of ND Cancer Lobby Day at the State Capitol...

Hello, my fellow readers. It's Trevor here, sharing another tale of Brenda's life. This time is going to be about her recent experience at the North Dakota State Capitol. She was invited to participate as an advocate, from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, for the State of North Dakota.

How can you refuse, when you have something like this in your own backyard? Brenda was very excited to become a part of this. She has advocated many times, so this was nothing really new.

It was on February 22nd, this past Wednesday and it was a full day. It started with a hearing on a study on palliative care, which is different from hospice. That was something that Brenda was not that familiar with and was eager to learn more about it. Palliative care is implemented, when someone is diagnosed with a serious illness, at the beginning of their journey. It doesn't just have to be cancer. It brings in the whole team of support, not only for the patient, but for the family members as well. It is really a way of helping the patient to extend their life. Hospice is usually used at the end of life and also provides support for the family.

Brenda found the testimonies and discussion very interesting. More will have to be discussed before a final decision can be voted upon.

Next was getting together with the other advocates for a training session and pictures. They were taught how to approach their local representative, when bringing a bill to their attention. They were to have these meetings during their lunch period.

Brenda also heard a very inspiring story from a survivor and how she felt that palliative care was a big part of her recovery process.

Also during the lunch period she had a chance to sit down with a local house representative, that she had met, when CreakyJoints came to work here, almost 5 years ago. I cannot believe it has been that long. I was part of that day also. BOL

Brenda finally met her local senate representative, who she had emailed back and forth on another issue, several years ago and that was the oral chemo bill, which ended up passing. This is how Brenda got connected with the Grassroots Manager of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for the state of North Dakota.

That afternoon Brenda has a chance to sit in on the House Session. She was seated with her local house representative, who she had lunch with. She was great with explaining the whole process and Brenda enjoyed it so much.

What you don't know is that Brenda had been battling a very bad cough that day. She was doing pretty well, until almost at the end, where she got a horrible coughing spell. She tried so hard. She was handed a cough drop, Kleenex and offered water. You could say that she disrupted the House Session. BOL She felt really bad about the whole experience, but what can you do? If I have to bark I bark, so coughing is probably the same thing right? I'm only a dog, so what would I know. BOL

She didn't get kicked out, but she was so happy when a recess was called. She had been there for almost 2 hours, so it was time to get things wrapped up for the day. She thanked her representative, for allowing her to sit in on this House Session.

Next Brenda went back and filled out some papers, from her experience that day. It was at that time, that she got her picture taken with her local state senator. What an honor!

Brenda enjoyed the whole day and learned a lot. Brenda wanted to do this whole day, in honor of her sister, who passed away from colon cancer. In a way, I think Bev would have been proud of her baby sister, for taking another step with advocacy.

Until next time, this is Trevor reminding you, that making a difference, can start in your own backyard.