Lobby Day 2009

Lobby Day 2009 in Washington DC was outstanding!

The Eating Disorders Coalition is well-organized and peopled with enthusiastic and motivated volunteers - and it runs these events so well. So well, in fact, that everyone involved ends up feeling more grateful than generous. But the volunteers are indeed very generous with their time and energy and teamwork.

Two days worth of trainings and events were draining (took me two days to recover!) but invigorating as well. I learn more about the US government, about legislative process, and about healthcare policy in those few days than I ever did in school. And I also learn a lot about the grass roots eating disorder world - things I wouldn't get at a conference or from reading.

I had the honor of escorting one of the Virginia teams this year, as I did last year. My team had four who brought their experience as patients, one clinician/former patient, and one clinician/researcher, and myself: a parent/activist. We had three scheduled appointments with House staff - legislative assistants to our individual Congresspeople. We also did four "drop-by" visits and even experienced a "walk-by" where one of our team recognized a staffer friend and the encounter may end up being one of our "yes" votes for the FREED Act.

Our funniest appointment was our first: the LA rushed up and said "can we walk?" and thinking he meant to bring us to an adjoining office we all moved down the hall with him. And then another hall. Then an elevator, an underground tunnel, more hallways... we calculated he brought us about a half mile at high speed all the while our team answering questions and trying to discuss the FREED Act and our reasons why we hoped his rep would co-sponsor it. Arriving at his destination two buildings away he shook our hands and said "Thank you for coming." A rolling lobby visit. And a sprint back to our next appointment so carefully planned to be in the same hallway as the first.

The most exciting appointment was our fast-paced as well. We had a co-sponsor in under five minutes: the LA was herself experienced with eating disorders and lack of access to care: "People don't get it" she said.

There is never enough time to meet all the people at Lobby Day and learn their stories, but I was honored to get to know the people in our team better and hear theirs. They rocked (and ROLLED).

Next Lobby Day? September 2009.

I only took one picture, I'm sorry to report, but since it includes a lovely baby's bottom I couldn't resist. Oh yeah, the Capitol is visible as well:


  1. Well, I like the picture you took! LOL Such a healthy little child.
    You will have to further update us on your crusade. I know you being there made a difference.
    Thank you for all you do Laura!

  2. Thank you -- and your team -- for all your tireless activism. (I absolutely LOVE the story this photo tells as well.)


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