Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moms Will Cure CHD

Today, I've been inspired and revitalized on the whole CHD front. My day was full of outstanding presentations at the Consumer Trends Forum here in Boston. I've learned a ton, and will have more take-homes than I think I've ever had from a conference. But this is CHD month, and I'm on this mission to promote awareness, and thus one thing is stuck out in my head.

These past few weeks I've been mulling over the whole CHD awareness thing. Why don't people know about it? Why is it a "silent" epedemic? Why can't we get more research dollars?

You know why? Our children do not have a vote. Most CHD survivors don't realize they are part of an overall picture. And MOMS are not strong enough advocates. Sure, we tell our close friends and family, maybe even a congress member, but we aren't using our greatest strengths to change the face of this daunting task.

Don't get me wrong. As parents of children with CHDs, there is nothing more we want than to find treatments, answers, cures. There is nothing more we want than to save another mother from the pain we have seen ourselves and watched our children endure. But we are discounting ourselves.

One of the speakers at today's meeting was Maria Bailey, founder of a mom-based marketing group called BSM Media. A lot of things she talked about struck a chord with me (e.g. finding out I'm a mompreneur, how moms will decide who the next president is and how much major brands want to woo us). I left with the new reality that more moms are coming who are connected, who share my values, and who work in a similar manner that I do, yet share my family-first values. We, the mompreneurs, soccer moms and SAHMS, have more power than I ever imagined.

Why does this relate to CHD? Because I think we're underselling ourselves as moms. I myself have said, "I'm just a mom" when referring to my role in CHD awareness. I've made a weak attempt at awareness. And I discount my desire for change (I want it, but can't achieve it on my own).

Here's the reality check. I'm part of a $2.1 TRILLION dollar buying power who can influence my favorite brands. My vote will change our future. My voice does matter, because it's not a voice of one, but of thousands. We have POWER, and it's time to tap into it.

Tonight I learned that we have more influence than I ever imagined. Now it's our responsibility to tap into that power to bring attention to the matters we care about most - the health, well-being and future of children and adults with CHD. It's time to erase the "silent" part of the epidemic we face and find answers. I'm fired up and ready for action. Now for the next step...

- How do we come together to accomplish changes in legislation?
- How do we join forces and change the pitiful funding for the research that will change our children's lives?
- And how do we use our buying power and leverage to influence major companies to join our fight for our children and future generations?

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