Virtual Lobby Day Sets Record
Last month, as 80 advocates arrived in Washington, D.C., to prepare for meetings with members of Congress, Virtual Lobby Day participants were already on the Internet contacting legislators about CFS and reinforcing our message on the Hill.
The strength of online activism is growing, and Virtual Lobby Day is no exception. Last year online CFS advocates used the Association’s Grassroots Action Center to send more than 4,000 messages between May and August. Advocates participating in Virtual Lobby Day this year have already sent more than 5,600 messages to 325 members of Congress, four designated public health leaders and 1,402 news agencies.
The effect of all this communication not only reinforces the efforts of Lobby Day participants in D.C. but also has its own impact on policy-makers and the media.
For example, advocate Amanda Rinkel of Puyullup, Washington, used the Grassroots Action Center to contact her local media outlets about CFS. Her letter was published verbatim in the April 28, 2007, edition of the Seattle-Intelligencer. As Amanda told readers of Seattle's daily newspaper, "I fell ill at 17 years old and at 21 was declared disabled due to CFS. I look relatively healthy, but there are days when I can't get out of bed. This illness is not my life, but it has taken a large part of it." Her twin brother Nick's letter was published in the Seattle paper on May 18, a direct outcome of his participation in Virtual Lobby Day.
With a few clicks of the mouse and some personalized paragraphs to add life to the CFS facts in each targeted letter, people from across the country are making their voices heard. This year’s Virtual Lobby Day actions include:
- Asking local media to address CFS
- Urging your members of Congress to sign a letter to the head of the NIH
- Contacting the secretary and assistant secretary of health about CFS needs
- Urging NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni to focus more funding on CFS
- Contacting the CDC about CFS research and education
You can strengthen these requests for action, joining your voice to the mix by completing the alerts at http://capwiz.com/cfids/home/.
The CFIDS Association, through your donations, fights for the rights of people with CFS and their families by advocating for increased government funding of research and improved public policy regarding CFS.
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