We are international

Lyle Drier, Advocate of the Month for February 2013

Advocate of the Month February 2013Lyle Drier has been a tireless advocate for policy changes for many years, most recently joining our Postcards for Parity program in Wisconsin.  She has fought to increase patient access to life saving treatments, pushing Wisconsin lawmakers for several legislative sessions, to pass a bill that directs insurers to charge affordable copays for patients needing oral chemotherapies. “I have been to Madison twice in the last year, speaking to numerous legislators. I have also done several newspaper interviews on the subject and even a TV interview,” recalls Lyle. She has been involved for multiple reasons: first, she herself has suffered the inequity of treatment coverage and second, “It is nice to be able to help people who need it. I am hopeful that [being an advocate] will help make it easier for someone else.”

After talking to legislators herself, Lyle wanted to get involved with the postcard program because she felt it “would be a good way to make people aware of the issues and encourage their participation in influencing our law makers.” In a two month period not only did she collect over 115 postcards personally, she inspired her friends to collect them as well, helping us total 230 Wisconsin cards in 2 months! She recounts, “I found it pretty easy to collect postcards by taking them to every group meeting I went to.  I belong to a number of different groups including an exercise class, meditation, book club, support group, and a craft guild.  I also asked many of my neighbors and friends.  To each of these groups I explained what the cards were for, and in most cases people were more than happy to support the effort. Once they understand what it was about, the most common response is, ‘why wouldn't I support this, it just makes sense.’ I even asked friends who were in a cancer support center to ask clients and nurses to sign them. ”

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma nearly six years ago, Lyle’s oncologist recommended an oral anticancer medication to treat her cancer; however, the decision to move forward with the treatment wasn’t an easy one as the drug came with an extremely high out of pocket cost for her.  After discussing her choices and finances with her husband, Lyle decided to move forward with her doctor’s advice and after 10 months, was declared in remission. “The cost was enormous for my family,” recalls Lyle. “I hate to see other people faced with these terrible expenses, or having to forego the best treatment because they cannot afford it. Hopefully this program will push lawmakers to pass the bill.”

As the 2013 Wisconsin legislature gets underway, Lyle will continue her work with the IMF, to push, prod and poke elected officials to support the oral chemotherapy parity bill- a change that will help not only Lyle, but all cancer patients in need of these life-saving drugs, afford the most effective treatment. Thank you Lyle for all of your great work!

If you would like to be involved in the Postcards for Parity Program or the state effort in Wisconsin, please email Aimee Martin at amartin@myeloma.org.

 related articles