Thanks to everyone around me, I was able to apply for a scholarship to work on the National Coalition for Cancer Survivors (NCCS) Cancer Policy Advocacy Team (CPAT) Patient-Doctor Communication Working Group (PDCWG) since March on a presentation we gave at the Annual Symposium in DC before heading to the Hill to visit our Congressional leaders on June 27.
Because I had never experienced this group or event in the past, I’d decided to apply for the scholarship for 2017. Also because I have been limited to applying for one or two scholarships per year so that I can afford to attend. Scholarships cover the airfare, hotel, registration, and meals during the conference or symposia while the rest is left to me. This is a big reason why I have continued to live with my family while continuing to look for a job, clients or projects. I’ve been very fortunate to have support since I was deported from France back to Houston when my separation started almost ten years ago. Plus, I enjoy getting to experience different conferences and symposia through scholarships and then aim to leave the seat open for new advocates each subsequent year. What I didn’t know was that there is a small group of advocates like me doing the same thing. So, returning to the Hill for the first time in a few years felt like coming home and then being surrounded by advocates I’d met in the past was so lovely. It was like a global sisterhood that magically appeared following the #BCSM twitter chat on Monday night in the lobby of the hotel. I am grateful to be among these amazing women and men. And I will continue to do more with my voice especially since so many others have been silenced along the way. While I was camping throughout Colorado last year and getting visited by bears and coyotes in the middle of the night, many of my advocate friends were losing their ability to stand up to cancer.
I will continue to advocate on both sides of the aisle because Cancer Doesn’t Care how anyone votes! And I’m sending so much gratitude to all the donors and sponsors for the NCCS CPAT scholarships. I wouldn’t have been able to attend without you, Thank you.