Dear friends and advocates,
With the advent of COVID-19, the world finds itself in the midst of a pandemic. Those with lymphatic disease understand this dynamic all too well. You have been living in the midst of a lymphedemic that has largely been ignored. However, thanks to our community’s activism, we see change everywhere. We are determined to continue our forward momentum despite the looming health crisis. There is only one way to do this, and that is to band together with everyone doing their part.
First, many have asked for COVID-19 information as it relates to those with lymphedema and other lymphatic diseases. Visit the LE&RN website where, in partnership with our United Kingdom colleagues at the LSN (The Lymphoedema Support Network), you will find COVID-19 Guidelines for the Lymphatic Disease Community.
Second, since in-person meetings at the Capitol aren’t possible at the moment, we have revamped our Washington DC Lobby Days. We are mobilizing conference calls with key state representatives to begin in late April and to continue throughout the year. What does this mean? It means we now hope to engage advocates from every state on calls. It means each call can have a researcher, medical professional, and industry leader participate, along with our advocates. We will need representatives from every state. Please start thinking about joining this effort. We will be fighting for the establishment of the Lymphatic Commission at NIH, the inclusion of lymphatic diseases as an area of research at the Department of Defense, CDC Awareness grants, and the Lymphedema Treatment Act (LTA).
Third, LE&RN is your organization and survives with your support. Although events that draw us together may be off the table at present, we can still organize virtual events that keep us connected. We look forward to every regional community participating in these.
While we realize we have not yet seen the full impact of COVID-19, we also know there will be a point when this pandemic is under control. We are determined to persevere during that interim period, remain informed to better protect each other, and do everything possible to keep our mission on track. LE&RN staff is committed to staying the course and we will succeed if everyone reading this makes the same commitment.
President & CEO, LE&RN