Marge Fleming Smith of Lewes joined more than 150 other advocates in Washington, D.C. Sept. 9-10 to meet with their members of Congress to share their stories of the personal impact Parkinson’s disease has made on their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Advocates 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.
The Parkinson’s Policy Forum is co-hosted by the Parkinson’s Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The event is also supported by nine other Parkinson’s organizations across the country. The 2019 Parkinson’s Policy Forum featured a full day of training, followed by one day of advocacy, congressional outreach and education to members of Congress on Capitol Hill.
Fleming Smith and other advocates received tools to develop and hone their skills for effective public policy advocacy. Attendees heard from leading experts in Parkinson’s research, public policy and advocacy from the Parkinson’s Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Panelists also highlighted recent legislative action to cap high out-of-pocket drug costs and increase access to health care services, including the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019.
Fleming Smith met with senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and their staff to talk about the policy issues mentioned above.
“I am honored to join my fellow Parkinson’s community at the 2019 Parkinson’s Policy Forum to advocate on Capitol Hill for increased mental health access as well as helping navigate drug costs,” said Fleming Smith. “I contact my elected officials year-round at town halls and local meetings, as well as through email and phone calls, but the chance to join advocates like myself to share our Parkinson’s journey and show our nation’s leaders how they can use their votes to support Parkinson’s research and care is impactful,” said Fleming Smith.