Sydney and I ventured a trip to Washington a couple weeks ago...and by venture, what I really mean is, we took the city by storm.
Sydney is my little sidekick. The cuter counterpart who loves to travel and take on new adventures as much as I do...if not more... so when I suggested "Let's take a trip to Washinton, DC and attend Hill Day with Melanoma Research Foundation", of course she said, " Why not..sounds like fun!"
So, emails sent, hotel and bus tickets book..a plan was enacted. Hours later, we arrived in DC and one of my favorite places to be is in a train station. Union Station is no different. I have no idea why I love train stations so much but I have yet to be in one I dislike. Maybe it stems back to my 16 year old self, riding trains through Europe or the idea of just going somewhere new..it's nestalgic.
And surprisingly so...DC, although it has many homeless, it feels safe. And clean. Even at 10pm.
Tourist moments aside, we were there on an agenda. To learn how to best advocate for more funding and focus upon melanoma research. We listened and learned about the judicial system, how laws become laws and get passed, how to speak ro our state legislative members & how to best be heard. We became empowered in our voice.
But the most important part for Sydney and I was connecting with Melanoma warriors and supporters in all sizes, shapes, ages and experiences. We were amongst giants. We were amongst people individually making small efforts but collectively, making a big difference. Most of all, as a mom, I watched a light ignite in Sydney. It wasn't long before Sydney had a 2 year old melanoma patient on her lap, snapping selfies. ( he is currently under chemotherapy treatment- one would never know) We met Mason and Graham, Isaac and others...they all mattered.
We also met Suzanne, who in her own right, has an amazing story. She is a stage 4 survivor- 6 years ago, had a mole removed from her hip with 5 years NED. Then a scan revealed tumors on her liver and lungs. They were removed or treated but after she collapsed at work, they discovered brain tumors. So 4 weeks before meeting her in DC, Suzanne had brain surgery. I was impressed by her calmness as she shared her story. I was awed at her beauty. She reminded me why this is such an important mission. She was alive because of current research and drug therapies. I am alive because I had a doctor willing to try something brand new, a treatment never attempted before. She and I were living proof we needed to keep getting the word out about melanoma awareness, research and press forward so others had equal access to good healthcare, treatment options and the best outcome possible!
So off we went to the Capital on a BEAUTIFUL spring day. It was marvelous. The various offices we visited were receptive and willing to listen as we shared our stories, shared current melanoma materials and took a moment to just enjoy this time.
So...it was a life changing moment for Sydney and I. We will do it again. We made new friends. We grew deeper in appreciation for melanoma warriors. We felt confident in the suppprt we received from Melanoma Research Foundation.
Next year, we will do it again!
In the meantime, Sydney has now started her own blog. The girl continues to amaze me.