Does your call or e-mail to your member of Congress impact what goes on in Washington? Yes! Will it make a difference? Yes! We know this because of the feedback received from Congressional staff members. Here is some background information: Members of Congress want to know what issues are of importance to their constituents, whom these issues are impacting, and perhaps most importantly, how they are being affected. Threshold numbers, or the number of inquiries by way of calls, e-mails, letters, etc that trigger a member of Congress being notified by their staff that their constituents have been contacting them about an issue or issues important enough to warrant taking the time to contact them can be as low as four. Often we hear from people who say that their call or e-mail won’t make a difference. Having heard from staffers that every call is important, but multiple calls about the same issue catches their attention gives us reason to believe that your call or e-mail, along with a family members or friends call will trigger a response can be quite powerful. Most calls or e-mails to your member of Congress take less than five minutes. Another common response when people are asked to get involved by contacting their member of Congress is that their member knows or should know about the issues of importance to their community. Taking the time to share your concerns and educating Congressional staffers and members of Congress about Parkinson’s Disease can relate to a person becoming an effective advocate.
For the PD community, the most important issue facing us now is the threat of across the board cuts to biomedical research funding due to sequestration. We are coming dangerously close to losing the advances that have been made in the biomedical research field in all areas of the country due to the inability or unwillingness to compromise on issues that are of critical importance to the PD community and many other disease groups. The Parkinson’s Disease community relies on federal research funding for many of the grants that are awarded across the country to seek new treatments, therapies, and a cure. Quite sadly the gains made by research could be lost quickly, never to be regained because of the nature of research being conducted. Trials and research cannot just be placed on hold, to be started back up when funding is available again.
Get involved to the extent that you can and together we can truly make a difference!
There is no easier way to get involved than by becoming an e-advocate with the Parkinson’s Action Network. The work they do on our behalf makes ours a unified voice.