Volunteers advocate for Be The Match on Capitol Hill

Posted April 3rd, 2018 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories, Volunteer Stories
Show Content

Abby West offers this advice about navigating two full days of meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill: “Wear comfortable shoes!”

On March 5th and 6th, Abby met with 17 federal lawmakers or their legislative aides to promote Be The Match’s mission to ensure that cellular transplantation is available for everyone needing it. In addition, Abby worked to educate lawmakers about the need for increased funding to support the national registry of volunteer marrow donors.

Meeting with U.S. Senators and Representatives was new to Abby, and she says the experience was both exhilarating and eye-opening. “I’m always seeking new ways to be of service to the cause,” she says. “This was a new one that would further educate me about what Be the Match does to advocate for our future patients.”

Abby donated peripheral blood stem cells to a patient four years ago, which she says moved her deeply and motivated her to want to do more to support Be The Match. She joined the Be The Match Board of Directors a year after donating.

She reports that lawmakers were receptive to hearing about the mission of Be The Match. “Approaching politicians with our unique and unassailable critical care and life-saving mission meant hearing nothing but support,” she says.

Abby wants others who support Be The Match to not be shy about contacting their Congressional representatives, and notes that while in-person meetings may have the most impact, sending letters and e-mail messages, and making phone calls can all be effective, too.

Abby says that much of her conversations with legislators focused on urging them to co-sponsor and then act to pass HR 4215, which is legislation to ensure that future Medicare payment for cellular transplant reflects the true costs of treatment. Currently, Medicare rates do not cover the total costs hospitals incur when providing a bone marrow or cord blood transplant to Medicare-eligible patients.

Abby says that she plans to leverage her new connections with D.C. legislators to continue urging them for “more dollars to innovate and break down barriers preventing access to life-saving transplants.”

Be The Match has online information about how you can advocate for our live-saving mission, including ways you can urge your Congressional representatives to support HR 4215.

Access the Be The Match legislative advocacy web pages >

One Response to “Volunteers advocate for Be The Match on Capitol Hill”

  1. sara shaw says:

    Thank you for reaching out to the D.C. legistlators where you can bring a voice to so many people who are unable to tell their personal stories, and I am positive that meeting them face to face really makes it more real and personal rather than looking legislation simply as numbers and facts.
    I hope more people in the future will advocate for the many seemingly nameless patients who we work with everyday in order to bring about real change in healthcare.

Leave a Reply