Niagara Gazette —
Part of our job in D.C. was to express to Congress three main objectives. We expressed our hope they could help patients save hundreds of dollars per month on medications, help more children gain access to rheumatologists — particularly in the 11 states without a single board-certified, practicing pediatric rheumatologist, and seven states with just one — and to ease the burden of arthritis, especially for those in active duty.
My mom and I had the opportunity to meet the executive assistants of U.S. senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and I shared my story with them about how difficult living with arthritis is on a day-to-day basis, especially as a young adult. Although times are tough in our economy and Congress is facing major budget problems, it was still important for us to make it known that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and it is an issue that should not be ignored.
Whether Congress supports our objectives, my mom and I plan to continue to be strong advocates for those battling this debilitating disease. The experience I gained from attending the summit was truly inspirational and I am certain I will take what I learned with me when spreading the word to increase awareness of arthritis.
Chelsea Pelsone, a junior at Niagara University, was named Emerging Leader of the Year in 2012 by Leadership Niagara. To donate to her efforts send a check to the Arthritis Foundation in care of Chelsea Pelsone, Box 1094, Buffalo, NY 14226.