All too often, we sit around and complain about how the health care system has failed, how research dollars are going into the wrong pockets, or how accessibility is lacking in our community. Becoming a patient advocate means having the courage to take action and do something to help yourself and others suffering with neuropathy. Taking action, whether we do it alone, with others in our community, or with our support group, is empowering. Those of us who have the power to fight must do so for ourselves and for those who are no longer able to fight for themselves.

People living with neuropathy and those who love them have the inherent ability to be passionate and persuasive advocates. This is because their words come from the heart and from firsthand experience. Consequently, they are not easily daunted. In fact, every “no,” every closed door, just adds fuel to the fire. Being “on fire” for a cause is the key to effective advocacy.

Empowering yourself means that you should understand neuropathy and know how to navigate the HC system in your state. Once you are educated you should get involved and participate in the policies that affect your condition by writing letters, making phone calls, sending an email, participating in coalitions, working with the media or even visiting your local elected officials.

Remember, “Advocacy Is Empowerment.”