“Call me what you want—daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, myeloma patient, myeloma survivor and now, myeloma advocate!” Advocate Kathy Cartwright from St. Charles, Missouri, wrote these words when she began participating in the Postcards for Parity Program in August. Throughout her postcard collecting journey in Missouri, she utilized all of these facets of herself to collect hundreds of postcards. Congratulations to Kathy, our December Advocate of the Month!
Kathy did a great job inspiring others to educate folks about the struggles faced by myeloma patients and other cancer patients to receive the treatment they need to survive. With her support group members and family members asking people to fill out postcards, we received high volumes of cards from the same district, which helped beef up our ‘holiday gifts’ to those legislators. She explains, “I could not have done it without the support group, family & friends. With more than one person reaching out to others affected by cancer and explaining the Postcards for Parity Program, the signatures rolled in one after another.”
Through her experience, Kathy found that, “If people were not taking anti-cancer drugs, they really did not know there could be a difference in health insurance coverage depending on the mechanism for their treatment and were appalled by this information. Those who were talking anti-cancer drugs knew all too well the costs!”
The postcard program has helped spread the responsibility of advocating for access to care from solely the patient and caregiver to the larger community of those who care about them. Kathy and members of her support group had family members not only fill out postcards, but ask their friends to sign them as well. This helped spread our reach beyond the myeloma community. “Some of my family members took the cards to work and collected signatures, as well as folks from our support group reaching out to their church, and others even going door to door to get those cards signed! I took the cards to the medical & cancer centers by my home and the medical professionals were also eager to sign them.”
I also want to say Thank YOU to Aimee & the Staff at the IMF for doing all this work on our behalf. Getting the cards signed and spreading the word about HR2746 was the least we could do to help ourselves as well as others dealing with cancer.
If you are not yet an IMF advocate, please sign up here.