There is LITERALLY NO EXCUSE for this Hep-C epidemic to carry on at the current rate. We have been to DC several times in the last few years but this year was, in particular, significant as there is now a cure for Hep-C.
About a year ago we created Oliver the Climbing Liver to raise awareness. He has been a big hit and always draws a crowd. People aren’t always sure exactly what Oliver represents, but no worries there... Oliver always has a spokesperson handy to explain about Hep-C and offer literature or contact info. Honestly it can be intimidating to dress up like a liver, wave signs, and make noise, especially for James who is an introvert but he doesn’t allow his pride to be more important than the millions of people with Hep-C who suffer everyday.
Our method may be silly, but our motive is completely serious. We aren’t a political organization, except for the fact that changes MUST be made by our elected officials to see that the epidemic is better funded.
Washington is represented by about 175 different Embassies from all over the world, so we hired a driver, a courageous one, who waited as we jumped out of the van to share literature and a little info about our cause with several different Embassies. We visited the Russian, Tanzania, China, Japan, Brazil, and South Korean Embassies. A few let us in, and a few didn’t. We got contact information to Health Ministers, and offers to come back at appointed times. All of them allowed us to take pictures. All of them also took our literature and listened to our spiel about Hep-C. Oliver also visited the White House, Capitol, Lincoln Memorial. He took a break at Starbucks, and hung out with several different groups who were touring our Capitol City.
Check out this photo gallery from our visit:
All in all we were able to contact several key people. Engage the Public. Make noise in the Halls of Congress. Raise awareness. Dispel the stigma and encourage testing at home and abroad.