Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day two in Washington

Day two of our trip of a lifetime continued to amaze us. It was the calmest of the days, but was by no means dull!

All of the Champion families went to the Dirksen Senate Building for lunch. CMN had invited senators and representatives to stop by and get a chance to meet these inspiring kids. We were welcomed by Senator Orrin Hatch, and many others came by to see their families. The girls had a lot of questions about the amount of security we were going through on this day, and I tried to give a lesson in government. We got to meet with staffers from Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown's office as well as a staffer from Ohio Senator George Voinovich's office.

At the end of lunch, most of the families went back to the hotel for a day with their family, but several of us had private meetings arranged with our senators. Our family was excited to actually be invited to the Capitol Building to meet with Senator John Boehner, the Minority Leader of the House. We were accompanied on our trip by several Walmart executives and President and CEO of CMN, Scott Burt. Boy, did we feel important!

Unfortunately, there had been a small plane accident at the airport, so Senator Boehner's flight had been delayed. We had an opportunity to meet with his chief of staff instead. We got to talk about the importance of Children's Miracle Network and the help it gives to hospitals and children nationwide, the impact that Walmart's support of CMN has on these hospitals, and how this impacts Ohio and states like it.

For my part in each of these meetings, I tried to put a human face on what chronic healthcare needs are for Ohio citizens. I told a short version of Amelia's story and explained how we moved to Ohio to be closer to an excellent hospital. I tried to explain the vast financial strain that lifetime medical concerns have on a family, and then discussed some NIH and healthcare funding opportunities that the Senators have. I also invited all of them to visit Cincinnati and Amelia at Cincinnati Children's Hospital so that they could meet her in person and get to see for themselves what tenacity and strength look like in an almost nine year old body.

The rest of the day was for us to fill on our own. Each family did what they wanted. We went to another Smithsonian museum, went to the Washington Monument, got some dinner, and hit the ever important hotel pool.

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