Your voice matters. Often we talk ourselves out of speaking up because we don't think anyone is listening, or we don't think we have anything to say. Here's a brief anecdote to illustrate that if you never try, you'll never know.
In response to the Minnesota Governor's intent to defund the MN SCI/TBI Research Program, my wife and I (who live in Montana) shared a call to action through our social media accounts. Many of our friends responded with calls and emails to Governor Walz and influential politicians.
Our long-time friend and beautiful soul, Tamie, sent a personal email to Senator David Tomassoni, who is Chairperson of the Higher Education and Policy Committee, which oversees the current SCI/TBI Research Program in Minnesota. She assumed it was a long shot, given that she is a current resident of New York, many hundreds of miles away from the fight.
A few days later she received a personal response from the Senator, who said, "I don't think I've ever gotten an email from New York." The feeling was mutual, as Tamie had never received a personal reply from a Senator.
Continuing their correspondence, Tamie spoke from her heart about how spinal cord injury affected my family. Tamie and my wife, Lori, are very consistent pen pals, so Tamie has been a virtual journal for Lori about the specific struggles that come with an SCI.
Senator Tomassoni, being moved by the story, suggested that Tamie and I testify on behalf of the program at an upcoming hearing.
Today, Thursday, March 4th, our voices will be heard at a hearing in the Senate Higher Education Committee. (You can even watch our testimony livestreamed here on YouTube.) This opportunity wouldn’t have happened if Tamie had assumed her out-of-state voice didn’t matter.
If SCI has touched your life, you have something to say. In our march toward a cure and functional recovery, your story can make the difference.