The Ultimate Goal of Advocacy
At Freedom Resource Center advocacy is one of our core services. An advocate by definition is someone who speaks or writes to stand up for a person or cause. The ultimate goal of advocacy is when a person who is seeking advocacy becomes an advocate for themselves. The following story belongs to Michelle Cmela, it can also be found in our May Newsletter.
What first brought Michelle Cmela to Freedom Resource Center over two years ago, were her disabilities. At the time she felt she had a whole new life. As she stated, she needed help figuring out “ways to work with my disabilities, not against them.” Cmela said that prior to this she had been healthy her whole life. “I am married, a mother, and have always worked for what we have. Then, very quickly, mine and my family’s life changed immensely. Within a short period of time, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Type 1 diabetes.”
There was one particular moment when Michelle made a difference by being an advocate herself, for those with similar barriers. “One of my biggest achievements was going to the [Minnesota] Capitol and testifying on behalf of supporting the Alex Smith Bill,” Cmela recalls. “This bill, which was eventually passed, is about putting a cap price on insulin. Alex Smith was a young man who could not afford his insulin, because of the price gouging pharmaceuticals and he ended up losing his life as he did not have any more insulin. At that time, a month supply of insulin for myself was approximately $500.00. I could not afford it! I had to take a brand that was $50.00 per month and my blood sugar numbers were all over the place. It was a very scary time for me and my family, not knowing day to day or even hour to hour of what my levels were. Now, my insulin is more affordable, and my blood sugar numbers are a bit more regulated.”
Two years after her first contact with Freedom, Michelle continues to be involved in advocacy and the work that Freedom does. “Freedom Resource Center helps me make my everyday life easier,” Cmella states. “They understand that at times, people with disabilities live a different type of life, that they are not even accustomed to. Like during the Covid pandemic, they were there for me, over the phone and computer. They understand that sometimes it can be difficult to make commitments to do things. An example would be, that you are going to attend an activity the next day, but you make wake up in the morning and your body is telling you other things. So, you have to cancel at the last minute and stay home to rest. Freedom Resource Center also knows about many different resources, so if they cannot help you, they will point you in the right direction to get the help that you need and deserve! Also, what is amazing is that all of the services provided by Freedom Resource are free, and they are worth a lot to me and my family. Thank you, Freedom Resource Center!”
If you or someone you know needs advocacy or would like more information about our services, please call us at 1-800-450-0459.