How I Spent My Remission by Mary Polancih

Mary-P-and-Walker-facing-cameraYes, that is me smiling and standing next to Governor Walker. I’m still in shock! In shock because I learned he supported the bill, not just because it was good for his presidential run, but because he had witnessed how oral cancer drugs prolonged his mother-in-law’s quality of life as she battled brain cancer, and helped her live long past expectations. She had refused IV chemo because she had watched her own son suffer through IV chemo treatment (unsuccessful) for a blood cancer many years before. Gov. Walker was quite eloquent as he related his story. So I gratefully ate a little political crow, celebrated our victory, and let myself be photographed with him. The first photo was as I thanked him for his help.

What the pictures don’t show is the 150 other survivors and family members plus 150 Clinical Cancer Center staff members who had attended the signing ceremony a short time earlier. One of Gov. Walker’s staff said it was the largest turnout for any bill signing this year. No surprise to me!

The whole crowd was very upbeat. Three weeks ago, the bill was dead because leadership in both the Assembly & Senate had a long time resistance to the bill. We all knew the only reason we were standing there was because so many people decided we would not accept “politics as usual” and forced the system to work for us. (Hear the soundtrack chant of “Power to the People” playing in the background as you read this?) We knew it certainly helped that the media kept a bright light on the bill, and that Gov. Walker threw in his support publicly, and that lots of quiet allies in the legislature used the pressure from their constituents to do the right thing. Can you believe it…a bipartisan bill benefiting consumers emerging from this legislative session?!

Walker was very gracious and stayed until almost the last person left the event. Afterward, I got to thank Sen. Darling, Rep. Strachota and Rep. Barca, for their hard work. They seemed to be savoring the success as much as we survivors.

For me, the takeaway lesson from this whole process is that the system can still work. Glad I got to be a tiny part of making it happen.

Mary

PS. Check out the slideshow below of the IMF advocates who attended with me.

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