Nearly 50 child patients, their families and representatives from children’s hospitals took to Capitol Hill June 26-27. These amazing young advocates asked their lawmakers to make children’s health a national priority, and inspired all those they spoke with to #GoBig for children’s health.
Activities and inspiration
Festivities kicked off on day one with families getting to know one another, and getting their message out on social media — the event generated more than 100,000 engagements across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Next up was the sightseeing bus tour with a stop by the American History Museum and an interactive briefing to prepare families for their legislative visits the next day.
The kids and their parents also heard from McKenzi Coan, three-time Paralympic Gold Medalist, and even got to hold her medal as she reminded them that they could achieve their dreams. After dinner and a patriotic celebration — complete with a live band, photo booth, games, face painting, superheroes and more — the young advocates were more than ready for a restful night's sleep.
Families rose early on day two to prepare to meet with their members of Congress. More than 150 congressional visits took place as part of FAD. In these meetings, families touched on some specific requests: protect Medicaid for all kids who need it, reauthorize and provide strong funding for the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, and pass the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids (ACE Kids) Act. Thanks in part to these meetings, the ACE Kids Act and CHGME reauthorization bills have garnered more than 30 new co-sponsors since FAD. Children's hospitals are grateful for this bipartisan congressional support of children’s health.
This year’s Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day yielded more than 75 million traditional and social media impressions. National coverage included an opinion editorial in The Hill by Children’s Hospital Association president and CEO, Mark Wietecha, and our returning Speak Now for Kids ambassador, Dr. Jennifer Arnold, helped get the word out in a local FOX News story. All of these pieces, in addition to eye-catching advertising, ample social media presence of the event and its superstar child advocates, helped make sure Congress heard the message loud and clear: children’s health must be a national priority.
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