Congratulations to our June Advocate of the Month, Barb Sarbaugh! As the Advocacy Liaison to the Cincinnati Support Group, Barb contributes to other myeloma patients through her great work on the Postcards for Parity Program and by inspiring others to take action as well. On the Myeloma ACTION Team, she is an invaluable resource in the development of the program, continuously stepping up wherever needed.
Barb’s advocacy participation started last summer when she learned about Postcards for Parity. “I chose to help with the postcards because it was something tangible that I could do,” explains Barb. “I am not a group leader, I am not a medical expert, but I can explain the issue and encourage people to sign the cards. There are many in our group who are struggling and should not have additional concerns about finances on top of the medical concerns about this nasty disease that we all face. Anything that we can do to alleviate the financial hardship is worthwhile, in my opinion.”
Barb has collected postcards at family gatherings and at church. Her most successful collection ever was at the “Partners in Hope Reunion,” an annual celebration dinner held by the Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit of the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“We had a very emotional program in which a young donor told her story of her reasons for becoming a donor, and her hearing from her anonymous recipient that she had saved her life and how grateful she was. The young donor then had the unexpected opportunity to meet her recipient. They met for the first time on the podium, and there was not a dry eye in the house!
“As dessert was served, I went from table to table, pens and postcards in hand, and asked if they had had the opportunity to sign a postcard to support drug parity for cancer oral medications. I did not say, ‘Do you want to sign these cards?’ I said, ‘Have you had a chance yet to sign these cards?’ and then gave them that chance. I emphasized that HR1801 was just introduced into the House of Representatives and it was important to get the information and cards to the legislators this summer. I waited patiently beside each table, clearly expecting them to sign the cards, and they did. If someone said he/she wanted to take it home, I did not give him or her a hard time, I just said, ‘I could save them the postage. ‘”
I collected 89 cards in that one evening.
“I think it is important to be involved in advocacy because we are all in this fight together. It will take a team effort to win.” Barb is an asset to the ACTION team and to the myeloma community as a whole. Thank you Barb for being an amazing advocate!
If you want to participate in the Postcards for Parity Program and/or be a part of the Myeloma ACTION Team contact Aimee Martin today.