How Out-of-Staters Are Helping Save Minnesota’s SCI/TBI Research Funding

by Jason Stoffer — Cure Advocacy Network Manager

Your voice matters. Often we talk ourselves out of speaking up because we don’t think anyone is listening, or we don’t think we have anything to say. Here’s a brief anecdote to illustrate that if you never try, you’ll never know.

In response to the Minnesota Governor’s intent to defund the MN SCI/TBI Research Program, my wife and I (who live in Montana) shared a call to action through our social media accounts. Many of our friends responded with calls and emails to Governor Walz and influential politicians.

Our long-time friend and beautiful soul, Tamie, sent a personal email to Senator David Tomassoni, who is Chairperson of the Higher Education and Policy Committee, which oversees the current SCI/TBI Research Program in Minnesota. She assumed it was a long shot, given that she is a current resident of New York, many hundreds of miles away from the fight.

A few days later she received a personal response from the Senator, who said, “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an email from New York.” The feeling was mutual, as Tamie had never received a personal reply from a Senator.

Continuing their correspondence, Tamie spoke from her heart about how spinal cord injury affected my family. Tamie and my wife, Lori, are very consistent pen pals, so Tamie has been a virtual journal for Lori about the specific struggles that come with an SCI.

Senator Tomassoni, being moved by the story, suggested that Tamie and I testify on behalf of the program at an upcoming hearing.

Today, Thursday, March 4th, our voices will be heard at a hearing in the Senate Higher Education Committee. (You can even watch our testimony livestreamed here on YouTube.) This opportunity wouldn’t have happened if Tamie had assumed her out-of-state voice didn’t matter.

If SCI has touched your life, you have something to say. In our march toward a cure and functional recovery, your story can make the difference.

Originally published at https://u2fp.org.

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