Lauren reflects on her trip to DC

My experience in Washington was absolutely amazing. The privilege of being chosen to attend these meetings and tell my story on Capitol Hill was wonderful. I had three meetings; one with Elizabeth Warren, Joe Kennedy, and Mo Cowan. Each one seemed to really listen and care about the issue that we are facing regarding Medicaid. I was not expecting the senators to be so intent and interested in what we had to say. I was prepared to meet with people who were just going to “yup” us and rushed into their next meeting. My favorite meeting was with Joe Kennedy because he seemed to understand what we were dealing with and the issue behind the problem better than the others did.  It was not as much walking as I was told it was going to be but I think it was worth every step.

My favorite part of the trip was either the party the night before Capitol Hill or the briefing meeting because I found it very interesting. The people I met were so wonderful and caring. The hardest part about the trip was having to watch out for Anthonie (a boy who also has CF). Although everyone there has complicated medical conditions, you would never be able to tell by looking around the room. I often found myself wondering who the ones with a condition were and who were friends and family. The people I met and heard stories from were just moving and empowering. The things that they have to deal with are far more than what I have and I was questioning why I was chosen because I do not consider CF complex because I am so used to dealing with it that it has become normal for me. Trading cards with all the kids, going home, and reading their stories on the card made me gain respect for them and gratitude for family and myself.

The hotel we stayed at was very fancy and was wonderful about accommodating all of our needs regarding our medical conditions. I was very pleased with all of the services they provided, including the prepared meals and functions. After my trip to Washington, I had a new sense of thankfulness and was very proud of what I had done. I would not change a single thing about the trip except maybe to make it longer.

The trip was unforgettable and a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I loved everything about it and would do it again in a heartbeat!

 

~Lauren Gregoire (Massachusetts)