Halls of Congress Come Home: Virtual Hill Visit Days
Author: NF Network, Becky Erickson
Published On: 02/08/2021
Each year, the NF Network Advocacy Program welcomes friends, family members, and loved ones in the fight for continued federal research funding for NF. Since the inception of the program in 1996, our group of less than 10 advocates has grown to nearly 100 in recent years.
Families like the Erickson’s have found a new passion in Washington D.C., educating Congress on the importance of this funding. Gregg and Becky began their advocacy journey back in 2016 and have been advocates with the program every February since then. “We’ve recruited family members, including Becky’s mom and our oldest daughter to join over the past few years, and we plan to initiate our 6th grader into the program this year as well. Our inspiration for advocacy is our 9-year-old spirited, compassionate, comedian son, Gus.”
Year after year, we are inspired by members of our community who remind us why this work is so important. “Through our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and our service to the NF Network Advocate Mentorship Program over the years, we have gotten to know so many fascinating and passionate families.” Our advocates join us from states across the country, bringing their stories as well as others from their districts to their congressional offices. Whether they are physically present on the Hill or their voice is shared in their personal stories, the feelings of community and togetherness continue to grow.
As a result of ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19, what would typically be in-person meetings have transformed to virtual, remote meetings for this year’s advocacy trip. “We will absolutely miss the in-person interactions with congressional leaders, their staffers and our fellow advocates and friends. The energy and majesty of walking through the hallowed halls of Congress will truly be missed this time around.” While we won’t be walking the halls of Congress, we are still grateful for the opportunity to share our request with our congressional offices. “We feel fortunate that we’ll be able to continue our advocacy efforts virtually this year, so we can keep each other safe and continue to build on the great momentum this program has gained in recent years!”
The NF Network Advocacy Program would not be where we are without the hope, strength, and dedication from our NF community. “We believe that, through advocacy and education, change can and will happen! The NF Network Advocacy Program’s successes over the course of several decades is a testament to that; and we will continue to raise our voices alongside them for as long as it takes to cure neurofibromatosis.”