Guest Blogger: Christine Wooley, AHA Advocate Leader
Early April this year provided an especially meaningful experience for me. As a longtime AHA volunteer, I had the pleasure of joining over three hundred fellow volunteers from all over the United States to lobby in Washington, D.C. It was a true honor and one of the greatest experiences of my life.
We stayed at the historic Omni Shoreham Hotel in the Woodley Park district. The Shoreham is a spectacular hotel that has hosted inaugural balls for every president from FDR to Bill Clinton.
At our advocacy meetings we learned the importance of Advocacy and how it helps the American Heart Association achieve their mission, as well as the important role volunteers play in the advocacy efforts. We also discussed our talking points for Lobby Day, NIH funding and Million Hearts Initiative.
Another highlight was participation in the Rally for Medical Research. At the rally, AHA and many other organizations rallied together in a demonstration near Union Station to show the value of medical research. We heard harrowing stories from survivors of heart attack, cancer, HIV, stroke, and how their lives would have been affected without the support of medical research.
Meeting fellow volunteers and AHA staff from all over the United States was one of the most memorable parts to this journey. Learning about why each one of us has personal connections to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association was extremely moving and life changing.
On Lobby Day we got to share with Representatives and Senators our personal stories of why we volunteer for the American Heart Association, and the importance of NIH funding and the Million Hearts Initiative. As an Oregonian, seeing my local politicians outside their turf and in Washington, D.C. was very exciting.
The Cherry Blossom Festival was in full swing while we were there and the Tidal Basin was full of beautiful shades of pink from the trees. After lobbying we walked along the Basin to take in the beauty. We then joined our group of AHA volunteers and staff at the Capitol for a photo shoot. It was a perfect end to an incredible American Heart Association Lobby on the Hill.❤