My Visit to Washington, DC for Pediatric Stroke
Tuesday, April 12 from 5 to 7:00 pm, I stood in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, Washington DC.
Standing in one of the grandest and most historic rooms of the Nation’s Capital, I found myself in complete awe of everything that was happening around me. I did my best to take it all in, and I passionately worked for the future of medical technology. This is something that could greatly impact, not only pediatric stroke and cerebral palsy but, countless diseases that have already and could, someday quite possibly, greatly impact my personal life, in one way or another. Diseases that range from cancers, concussions, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity…and so on…
I was surrounded by hundreds of people, who traveled near and far, for the Coalition for Imaging & Bioengineering Research 2016 Medical Technology Showcase. This event was after an entire day of walking The Hill (a.k.a. the Capitol of the United States), so I could speak on behalf of pediatric stroke.
(Pediatric stroke is a cause that I am passionate about. One I have, wholeheartedly, dedicated the past 8 years of my life to raising awareness, educating, advocating and, as of the past two years, am able to fund research for and about pediatric stroke through the World Pediatric Stroke Association or WPSA. As the donations come into WPSA the money goes right back out into the world to help better the lives of those impacted by pediatric stroke.)
The Showcase attendees ranged from people who are a combination of some or all of the following characteristics: brilliance, problem solvers (inventors), passion driven, powerful decision making abilities, leadership, motivated, knowledgeable, educators, sales driven… all coming together.
The goal of the Showcase was to educate Congressional representatives and staffers on how imaging technology impacts patient care from detection to diagnosis and treatment, and about current academic research in the pipeline from early career investigators.
Patient Advocate Partners, Academic Partners, Industry Partners, the National Institute of Biomedical and Bioengineering (NIBIB) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Society of Interventional of Radiology came from around the United States to fight for the advancement of radiology. This in an instrumental component for hundreds of diseases - including stroke, more specifically, for me, PEDIATRIC STROKE.
So you may ask "How does this help pediatric stroke?"
It means EASIER early detection of stroke in children, including unborn babies.
It means using imaging in a less expensive way to better the long term outcome for the child and be less costly to the family, and to the taxpayers of the United States. (The later part of that sentence is definitely something Congress loves to hear!)
It means being able to specifically curtail treatments for an individual patient/child in order to better his/her outcome and, quite honestly, curing the disease - this with the use of noninvasive imagining and bioengineering.
My BIGGEST goal while I was on Capitol Hill was the fact that none of this means anything until we start to THINK STROKE in children!
You cannot rule out or diagnose stroke if you don’t THINK STROKE in babies, even unborn, and children!
I invited as many people to learn about stroke in pediatrics by handing out fliers all over The Hill – the flier includes three fast facts about pediatric stroke and about World Pediatric Stroke Awareness Week 2016, May 7 – 13, 2016.
Our CHILDREN NEED & DESERVE A VOICE DURING National Stroke Awareness Month!
The goal for WPSAW16 is to spend an entire week focusing on the children of the world! (I will share more about this in the next blog post.)
While at the Nation’s Capital, I educated EVERYONE, even the world of academia and industry, as I moved about the Hill for over 14 hours on Tuesday, alone.
While this directly impacts children in the United States, IT WILL TRICKLE DOWN ON A GLOBAL LEVEL!
I had MANY long conversations, planting seeds in their minds, with people who could help collaborate to make a change for pediatric stroke!
I LEARNED…A LOT!
I learned from all of the brilliant minds I came into contact with from around the country who are instrumental in bettering the lives of Americans and people around the world!
My philosophy: THE MORE I KNOW THE MORE I CAN SHARE…KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
I took with me EVERY child and family who has had to learn something most don’t know – strokes happen in children.
I want to personally thank - on behalf of myself, WPSA and families everywhere - the Coalition for Imaging & Bioengineering Research and the Academy of Radiology for helping me give a voice for pediatric stroke on April 11th and 12th.
It doesn’t stop there, as I look forward to our continued partnership and for growing partnerships with all of those who I met over the two days I was in Washington, DC.