By Wanda Lucas
I remember my first Lobby Day with NBCC, meeting with a politician whose views were very different than my own. Initially nervous, I found the exchange with him to be inviting and warm while offering a platform on which to use my voice. It worked well because we all listened to each other realizing we shared more commonalities than differences. This meeting, in my mind, was powerful not only because we each had our own agendas, but we were all passionate about our personal experiences. However, in that time and place, the strength of the advocate’s voices surprised me.
I didn’t expect the power of the advocate.
We, the NBCC advocates, were in this office that held such national power, and yet, we were the people educating, informing and displaying a rare form of scientific knowledge not normally found in grassroots advocates. We had been trained by NBCC to speak our points effectively, efficiently and articulately.
I believe this level of action is especially poignant for women since we fought for the right to vote. And when it comes to lobbying and being involved in advocacy, I view it the same way. It is not just my right; it is my responsibility. No one knows why we were “chosen” to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer. Was it a wake up call? Was it part of our pre-determined path? Could it be classified as our purpose in life? I am not sure. But one thing is certain—we made a choice to fight. And we have a way to make our voices heard. We can speak for those who may be too afraid or embarrassed by the word “cancer.” We can gather our courage and strike a mighty blow, collectively.
We want to affect policy makers and the best weapons we have are our voices. Although different and personal, our experiences have joined us, and they remain powerful in their significance. With these powerful voices, we CAN put an end to breast cancer. Actually, this is the only way we can succeed. Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is real and so are we. Let’s clear our throats and use our voices to make real change happen.
Often described as “the basic source of support from the ground up,” grassroots advocacy has a place in my heart. It has become a part of my life and for that I am grateful, empowered and excited. So, who am I? I am an unexpected lobbyist. Will you join me?