Up with the Marines! We are so pleased that Congressman Jack Bergman (R, MI-1), a former Marine general, has become a champion for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
Michigan advocates led by Lori Chapo-Kroger, RN, president of Pandora Org, and supported by the #MEAction Congressional team, did a video conference with Rep. Bergman several months ago. After listening to the advocates’ stories and being briefed on ME, Rep. Bergman said, “It sounds like life’s thrown all of you a curveball but you’re still swinging. I’ll be there swinging with you. Consider this a new chapter with me as your partner.” And, indeed, Rep. Bergman did what he said he’d do!
- Rep. Bergman signed two letters that were circulated in March, one asking to add ME to the Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program, and the other asking the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services to appropriate $9.9 million for various Center for Disease Control ME projects.
- Rep. Bergman gave passionate opening remarks at the Congressional Reception at the end of Lobby Day, 2019.
- Rep. Bergman joined Reps. Zoe Lofgren, David Joyce, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz to co-sponsor the House resolution for International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Awareness Day.
- Finally, Rep. Bergman asked to meet with Dr. Ron Davis and tour the Stanford Genome Technology Center. After hearing on the video conference that some people from Michigan had to travel to Stanford for medical care because of the lack of Michigan specialists and that Stanford was one of the leading research centers on ME, Congressman Bergman asked if he could tour Stanford to see what research they are doing! And so we arranged for a visit to happen. How wonderful is that – a Michigan Congressman cares enough about his constituents and had the curiosity to use his time on a House recess to learn about clinical care and research for ME!
During the visit, Dr. Davis explained how his son’s experience with extremely severe ME motivated him to spend all his time looking for the cause of ME and to recruit his colleagues to assist in the effort. He showed Rep. Bergman several labs, described the kinds of ME research he was pursuing, and also explained how the false belief that ME was psychosomatic had both slowed and discouraged research for years. Rep. Bergman asked many probing questions, seeking to understand the research Dr. Davis was doing and what role NIH was playing.
Send a thank-you note to Rep. Bergman
We are so grateful that Rep. Bergman recognizes that disease is not a partisan issue and that both parties must work together to end the scourge of ME. Let him know how much you appreciate his actions by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the Michigan team for their amazing success, many thanks to Rep. Bergman for his wonderful support, and much appreciation to Dr. Davis for briefing Rep. Bergman.
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