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  [ 286 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • May 9, 2006

The CFIDS Association of America writes: We want YOU to join us in Washington, D.C. on May 8-9 for the CFIDS Association of America's 14th Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. This year's event is extra-special because we'll be introducing members of Congress and their staff to the CFS awareness campaign (launching June 2006), in addition to talking with lawmakers about funding for research and treatment centers, disability and education issues. Register today! Deadline for hotel reservations is Friday, April 7th and space is very limited. Act now! May 8: Training Session On the afternoon of Monday, May 8, a mandatory training session will prepare all lobby day advocates for meetings on the Hill. Tom Sheridan, the Association's Washington, D.C., government relations advisor since 1992, will lead the session. He'll provide background on current federal priorities and up-to-the-minute issues that may affect discussions with members of Congress and actions they commit to take. Tom's associate, Michelle Nawar, will brief participants on the legislation we'll be trying to impact and how Capitol Hill staffers might use the information advocates present during these meetings. Kim McCleary, the Association's president & CEO, will describe how advocacy drives other initiatives important to the CFIDS community and will review talking points and congressional requests. You'll also hear from veteran lobby day participants about what to expect and will practice new skills with the people you'll be grouped with for appointments the next day. First-time advocates will be matched with veteran lobby day participants or Association staff for their meetings on the hill. By the end of the session all advocates will feel confident with their messages, comfortable with Capitol Hill and secure in their right to be heard. May 9: Lobby Day When registering, advocates choose whether they prefer morning or/and afternoon appointments and whether they wish to do a heavy schedule or one that's light. The Sheridan Group and the Association schedule all Hill meetings, targeting members of Congress who serve on committees that determine medical research funding and set health policy. We also reach out to newer members of Congress and those who represent lobby day advocates. In recent years advocates have met with a total of 70-85 key legislators on this single day – a major achievement for the CFIDS community and personally rewarding to the individuals who take part. We celebrate the victories large and small with a reception that evening, also a chance for advocates to share experiences and form or renew friendships with others committed to the cause. Please consider joining us for this year's event. We recognize that for many people affected by CFIDS, limitations imposed by health, strained finances and other responsibilities make it impossible to consider traveling to Washington, D.C., so we are extremely grateful for the efforts and sacrifice that participants make to take part in this experience. As the date approaches, we'll have a "virtual lobby day" through CFIDS Link and our Grassroots Action Center, enabling those who can't be with us in Washington to augment the impact of what advocates are able to accomplish in person on Capitol Hill. For further details or to register, visit our lobby day packet, send a message to or call the Association's Resource Line at 704-365-2343. The deadline for registration is Monday, April 17.

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