On the Hill
by Bridget Hood, Lupus LA advocate
Bridget was one of nearly 50 delegates from the Lupus Research Institute National Coalition forming a powerful “patient’s voice for lupus research” on Capitol Hill.
Pictured above with Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (seated, center) are (clockwise) Lupus LA Executive Director Linda David, LRI President Margaret Dowd,
Dorey Neilinger, Elyse Reyes, and Bridget Hood.
It was a very productive trip! Our LA group alone had meetings with top aides for California senators (Barbara Boxer; Diane Feinstein) and representatives (Henry Waxman; Howard Berman; Jane Harman). We laid out requests for much-needed funding for lupus research and LA-area support programs, and increased medical school curriculum focus on the disease.
The highlight of the trip was meeting with Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who represents LA’s 34th District and sits on the prestigious House Appropriations Committee. I was very touched by her sincerity. She truly does care about those suffering from lupus and is a huge proponent of lupus funding.
On a personal note, I was filled with so much gratitude to live in this amazing country where it is our right and privilege to go to our nation’s capital and be a “voice” for lupus. I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude to be alive and healthy after so many years of suffering from lupus, which nearly took my life and eventually caused my kidneys to fail.
I felt so fortunate to have Lupus LA founder Dr. Daniel Wallace as my doctor, the means for medical insurance, and the blessings of a living kidney donor, my brother, who selflessly donated one of his kidneys. Now I have the health and energy to pay it forward by being a voice for lupus.
I went to D.C. to tell my story of years of chemotherapy, the 15-plus surgeries and procedures, hip replacements, countless medications…I was there as an advocate for lupus because I am one of the lucky ones who is surviving when so many others have lost their lives or are suffering. I was there so that no one else will ever go through what I went through.
We’re on our way, making huge strides for lupus. Yet we still have a long way to go. For me, “On The Hill” has a whole new meaning; it’s no longer just about our elected officials at work. It’s about how I can be a voice for lupus.