Marge Fleming-Smith of Lewes will join more than 300 advocates Monday to Wednesday, March 19 to 21, to meet with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. They will share stories of the personal impact Parkinson’s disease has made in their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Delegates will educate lawmakers on the need for federal funding for research toward a cure for Parkinson’s, and policy support for those living with the disease.
Co-hosted by the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Parkinson’s Policy Forum is also supported by nine other Parkinson’s organizations across the country. The forum will feature two days of training, followed by one day of advocacy, congressional outreach and education to members of Congress on Capitol Hill.
Fleming-Smith and other attendees will receive tools to develop and hone their skills for effective public policy advocacy as they prepare to meet with their senators and representatives. They will hear from scientific and policy experts at the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation on the latest research developments. Panelists also will highlight recent legislative action to increase access to healthcare services, including elimination of the Medicare therapy cap, which advocates worked for many years to remove.
Fleming-Smith will meet with Sen. Christopher Coons, Sen. Thomas Carper and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and their staff to talk about the need to provide federal funding for Parkinson’s research programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.
“I am honored to attend the 2018 Parkinson’s Policy Forum to represent the Parkinson’s community on Capitol Hill on these important issues,” said Fleming-Smith. “I reach out to my senators and representative year-round at town halls and local meetings, as well as through email and phone calls, but the chance to come together with hundreds of people like me, share our journey and show our nation’s leaders what it means to live with Parkinson’s disease is powerful.”