Giving Good Days Fall Newsletter- 2022
A Well-Traveled Poet, Educator, and Mom
Elizabeth is no stranger to overcoming challenges and adapting to change. After immigrating to the United States as a young woman, she earned a graduate degree in teaching from a top-ranked university, raised a daughter, and traveled with her family to some of the most remote places in the country to teach underserved children in local community schools.
But, at 83 years old, when a chronic eye disorder threatened her ability to write and paint, she wasn’t sure where to turn. During a routine appointment, her ophthalmologist informed her that she had signs of macular degeneration. Early detection and treatment of wet macular degeneration may help reduce vision loss and, in some instances, recover vision. However, treatment can be cost prohibitive for many individuals and their families.
Charitable assistance grants from Good Days are a welcome relief for families in need, but it is our professionalism, care and compassion that enable us to build long-term and deeply personal connections. Through our advocacy leadership spearheading initiatives such as Chronic Disease Day, Good Days has expanded those connections and its impact beyond traditional patient assistance programs to include grassroots advocacy and public affairs on behalf of all chronic and rare disease communities.
“After going to my retina specialist to receive further diagnosis, I learned that treatment was available, but that it would be very expensive. Worse still, my insurance would not cover it,” said Elizabeth. “Thankfully, they also told me that Good Days may be able to help with the cost of treatment. I applied and was accepted quickly. I am still amazed at their generosity, kindness and commitment to doing this for people. ”Growing up the daughter of a minister who served abroad, Elizabeth moved from South Africa to Australia to New Zealand and England by her early twenties. When she was 23 years old, Elizabeth decided to move to the United States and create a new life for herself.
Elizabeth landed in San Francisco where she first stayed at a local YMCA before she would eventually make enough money to pay her way through college at Wayne State University in Detroit and graduate school at the Seattle University of Teaching. After marrying, Elizabeth and her husband, who was also an educator, lived and worked in Washington state for many years where they raised their young daughter and enjoyed camping, education, and serving others. When their daughter turned 10 years old, they decided to move to Alaska to help indigenous communities with access to quality education and for the adventure of a lifetime. Elizabeth and her husband taught language arts at nearby villages while their daughter got to experience the native culture.
Later in life, Elizabeth settled back in Seattle where she taught at a high school for many years. These days, she enjoys painting and is working on a book of poetry.
“The thought of sitting in darkness was very scary for me,” says Elizabeth. “I am grateful that I have my sight so I can continue to paint and write. I thank Good Days so much for being able to look around this room. For being able to see the trees and everything around me right now.”
(Elizabeth coming home to her cabin from school greeting her dog, Blue)
The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is composed of 58 state and territorial health department chronic disease directors and their staff who protect the health of the public through primary and secondary prevention efforts and work on root causes of chronic conditions. NACDD unites 7,000 chronic disease professionals across the country who work in state, tribal, and territorial health departments, nonprofits, academia, and the private industry to promote health and to reduce the burden of chronic disease.
Since NACDD’s inception in 1988, their primary partner has been the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Their strategic alliance continues to implement change and educate the public about crucial preventative work.
NACDD CEO John Robitscher recently joined Good Days President Clorinda Walley for a virtual discussion during this year’s Chronic Disease Day National Advocacy Livestream event. “We work on many chronic diseases, but the risk factors are very important and are changeable,” said John. “We, in our lives, can make better choices in increasing our physical activity, increasing our intake of nutritious foods, decreasing tobacco and alcohol use. If we can stick to those four things we can all live healthier lives.”
As a national, nonprofit, profesional association, NACDD advocates, educates, and provides technical assistance to inform programming and grow chronic disease prevention knowledge, leadership, and capacity among their membership. Visit www.ChronicDisease.org to learn more about their work.
(National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, CEO John Robitscher)
KEY QUARTERLY UPDATES
Each year, Chronic Disease Day is led by Good Days and more than two dozen national chronic and rare disease nonprofit patient advocacy and assistance organizations in the Chronic Disease Alliance.
This July, Good Days was honored to host Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky and Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute Dr. Doug Lowy for a virtual event on national initiatives to address chronic disease prevention and improve access to care.
(Director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky)
(Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Doug Lowy)
LETTER FROM CEO & PRESIDENT
We’re proud to share that this year is already proving to be among the busiest and most impactful in our 20 year history as a non-profit organization.
Throughout 2022 Good Days has built on our program offerings in new and exciting ways to better support the people we serve. Earlier this year, we announced a partnership with In-House Interpreting to provide healthcare-specialized interpretation services in more than 300 languages. Working in tandem with our own Care Navigators, In-House Interpreting brings meticulous attention and special care to translation services so that if you do not speak English as your primary language, you still have the healthcare advocates you deserve. This past spring, we announced another partnership with Annexus Health to streamline the patient assistance enrollment process for people with retinal disease.
At the same time, we’ve made significant advancements in the ways we reach and advocate for individuals impacted by chronic disease. Our new storytelling and resource hub, Empowered Us, complements the support we provide to the chronic and rare disease community, caregivers and healthcare professionals, with inspirational real life stories and information on resources.
This summer, Good Days again led nationwide efforts to raise awareness for Chronic Disease Day. We had a record-setting 40 U.S. governors join us by issuing official proclamations on July 10 to mark the occasion, landmarks across the country lit up orange to show their support, grassroots supporters shared who they stay strong for on social media, and community leaders and federal and state officials joined our in-person and virtual events to advocate for change.
At the core of everything we do is a commitment to serve people in need with access to quality healthcare and healthcare resources. Thank you to everyone who has joined our advocacy campaigns to help us raise awareness, create assistance programs and amplify the voices of the patient community.
As always, we are especially grateful for our donors. Your continued support makes our effective compassion possible.
CEO & President