Last night, Taryn O’Brien, the manager of NEDA’s STAR Program and first Federal Lobby Day, carefully planned the short walk 301 advocates would take from the Hyatt hotel to the Capitol building. This morning, she woke up to rain.
“It seemed that everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong,” she said. Taryn has been planning this day for months now, tracking each detail and preparing for every contingency, but now she worried that the rain would be the straw to break the camel’s back. “First the protracted government shutdown, then the threat of massive highway closures and now it’s pouring rain. Bad luck.”
Truth be told, the entire NEDA staff was nervous. Would people show up to lobby? Would they brave the weather? Even if they do show up and brave the weather, will there be anyone on the Hill to meet with them? And, perhaps the most important question of all: Would all of their efforts make a difference?
To everyone’s great relief, the answers were, yes, yes, yes and YES!
Despite the shutdown and soggy weather, hundreds of passionate lobbyists joined together into 60 teams to meet with 210 members of Congress to educate them about eating disorders and encourage them to support eating disorders legislation! And the good news doesn’t end there—these amazing advocates were able to persuade various legislators to commit to join the National Eating Disorders Awareness Caucus and co-sponsor the bills they were lobbying for!
Neither rain, nor traffic, nor government shutdown could stop them!
At the end of the day, the color returned to Taryn’s face as the lobbyists proudly shared stories of their successful meetings and happy memories. Nearly every team felt that they had hit a home run during the day.
Some people say that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. But as we learned in Washington, DC today, success can sometimes happen when bad luck meets incredible passion.
Everyone at NEDA would like to extend a sincere thank you to co-sponsors, AED and iaedp, all of the advocates who came out on behalf of those affected by eating disorders today! Check out the pictures below: