Power of Presence and Voice
We would like to introduce you to Annie. Annie has been dealing with uncertainty and illness since she was just a little girl. Annie has blown us away with her determination. Please take a moment to read her story.
"For as long as I can remember, my sister’s three battles with leukemia have loomed over me. She was diagnosed at age three when I was only seven years old. Her disease transformed both of us into who we are today. As horrifying as her life with cancer has been, it has given me a perspective and drive that might not exist had she never been sick. Although I would do anything to erase my sister’s pain and lifelong threat of further relapse, I now use those experiences to find a more positive and hopeful purpose. Surprisingly, there have been beneficial pieces to it all. Beyond the twisted good fortune of taking a free trip to Disney World thanks to Make-A-Wish, I have discovered who I am and what I want to fight for. At a young age, my mind toggled as to what career I would choose. However, as I grew older and began to understand more about my sister’s cancer battles, I realized I want to dedicate my life to protecting her right to healthcare.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law just in time to keep my sister’s healthcare coverage. If it wasn’t for the historic legislation, my family would not have had the resources to give Erin the care she needed. After hearing my parents talk about what the ACA meant for us, my interest sparked. I came to realize, although our political system is exhausting, it is important to stay informed and engaged. As my curiosity of politics grew, I realized I can have a hand in the political process. The idea that I can work on behalf of those who need a voice has become my guide. Keeping my sister’s courageous battles in mind, I will stay motivated to work through college and law school. I have committed myself to larger causes, and Erin’s suffering will not have been endured in vain. Erin’s sickness was undoubtedly my first heartbreak, but the pain that we endured together has delivered us to a place of purpose and hope. For that, I am grateful.
In today’s world, we are continuously brought back to a level of high alert. Moments of success in keeping the ACA alive come and go quickly. There is a constant need to stay aware of what is happening both on the grand stage and behind closed doors in our government. The moment the rights for those with pre-existing conditions are once again threatened, I make sure my voice is heard. I have been writing emails, making phone calls and personally visiting local and state representatives to defend my sister and countless others. I have taken to social media, using it as a powerful platform in a respectable manner to draw attention to the importance of not leaving the vulnerable out. The very thought that my sister would have to worry about having healthcare after fighting against cancer multiple times, and continuously living with the side effects, is beyond comprehensible. I work tirelessly to ensure her story is heard.
I believe in the power of presence and voice. I have been a part of many organizations through rallies, walks and other events. Attending Leukemia Lymphoma Society walks and fundraising events, the Women's March 2016, March for Life 2018, along with belonging to Planned Parenthood, Move On, and the Ohio Democratic Party are all ways I have been active and involved. I make sure that not only am I calling our government leaders, but I successfully encourage others to do the same. My efforts have led me to opportunities. I headed to Washington, D.C. after receiving an invitation by Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to meet with him during one of his monthly coffee sessions. I have also spoken with Representative Dave Joyce in regard to healthcare, making sure that he is, in fact, working to protect those he represents. Although I have never been invited to speak with Senator Rob Portman through my own efforts, I did get to meet with him in D.C. when I was there with my family advocating for the children’s hospitals in 2014.
When someone you love fights for her life in front of your eyes, you can find yourself vowing to do anything to be her advocate. Since my sister’s sickness, I have been inspired, striving for success in her right to have healthcare. Because she has a pre-existing condition, her healthcare is threatened. I am prepared to spend my life working so Erin and millions of others have affordable healthcare. This is what has led me to my interest in politics. I am currently working towards a political science degree at George Mason University, with the hopes of graduating from Law School, and becoming a lobbyist. Beyond a career as a professional advocate, I plan to run for elected office, with the dream of serving in the White House. I intend to use my influence to provide a fair and just healthcare system for all people. I love my country and wish to serve in our government. As I strive for a successful political career, I must put my education first. Knowledge leads to success. With this in mind, I believe education can best give me the tools needed to launch my endeavor. By having the funds needed to finish my educational goals, I will gain the tools needed and forge the essential relationships that will help launch my career that seeks to do nothing more than leave this world a better place."
Annie you are an inspiration and we cant wait to see what you do!