September 13 rally in Washington

Photo by Connie Toops. Handmade signs relayed the sentiments of peaceful advocates for health care reform as they gathered within sight of the US Capitol on September 13, 2009, to support affordable, accessible, accountable updates to the nation's health care system.

Photo by Connie Toops. Handmade signs relayed the sentiments of peaceful advocates for health care reform as they gathered within sight of the US Capitol on September 13, 2009, to support affordable, accessible, accountable updates to the nation's health care system.

The Washington Post took this photo of the back of my head as I spoke at the health care rally in Washington.
The Washington Post took this photo of the back of my head as I spoke at the health care rally in Washington.
Colette Corwin and Margaret Stockard-Goering talk at Union Station, before we even found our way to the exit.

Colette Corwin and Margaret Stockard-Goering talk at Union Station, before we even found our way to the exit.

 

People from Western North Carolina at Union Station on the way to the rally

People from Western North Carolina at Union Station on the way to the rally

 

Terra Dunn Maney shot footage of our trip.

Terra Dunn Maney shot footage of our trip.

 

David Ireland outside Union Station.

David Ireland outside Union Station.

 

Tom and Barbara Coulson hold signs written by me and made by Life o' Mike board member Chrystal Cook.

Tom and Barbara Coulson hold signs written by me and made by Life o' Mike board member Chrystal Cook.

 

It was my turn to hold the grandma sign. Barbara carried it most of the day and dozens of people stopped her to shoot photos.

It was my turn to hold the grandma sign. Barbara carried it most of the day and dozens of people stopped her to shoot photos.

 

Bridget McCurry of Canton holds one of my favorite signs: Who would Jesus insure?

Bridget McCurry of Canton holds one of my favorite signs: Who would Jesus insure?

 

I loved how clever some of the signs were.

I loved how clever some of the signs were.

 

Another clever sign

Another clever sign

 

Cindy Soesbee of Franklin, a member of our group.

Cindy Soesbee of Franklin, a member of our group.

 

Just telling the truth.

Just telling the truth.

 

Another horror story

Another horror story

 

Clever, and a little icky

Clever, and a little icky

 

A man and his dog

A man and his dog

 

This young man spoke about his mother, whi is going blind because she can't get cateract surgery.

This young man spoke about his mother, whi is going blind because she can't get cateract surgery.

 

People wait to speak to the crowd. Each had a story about the abuses of our broken health care system.

People wait to speak to the crowd. Each had a story about the abuses of our broken health care system.

 

Good point

Good pointHealth care advocacy is patriotic.

Did you know a birth defect is a pre-existing condition?

Did you know a birth defect is a pre-existing condition?

Joe the bus driver gets ready to drive us halfway home. He was more ready for fun than most of us were, and we enjoyed his company.

Joe the bus driver gets ready to drive us halfway home. He was more ready for fun than most of us were, and we enjoyed his company.

Participants arrive at Upper Senate Park for health care reform rally. Oklahoma organizers unfurl their banner. Photo by Connie Toops.

Participants arrive at Upper Senate Park for health care reform rally. Oklahoma organizers unfurl their banner. Photo by Connie Toops.

Photo by Connie Toops. I was interviewed by the ABC affiliate in Washington.

Photo by Connie Toops. I was interviewed by the ABC affiliate in Washington.Photo by Connie Toops. Participants from many states joined the health care reform march near the Capitol. People marched around the park, chanting and waving signs before the program began.

Photo by Connie Toops. Peaceful demonstrators gather near the US Capitol in support of a public option for  affordable, accessible, accountable health care reform.

Photo by Connie Toops. Peaceful demonstrators gather near the US Capitol in support of a public option for affordable, accessible, accountable health care reform.

Photo by Connie Toops. It was easy to imagine President Obama was at the rally. The young woman next to him talked about how her sister is afraid to become pregnant because she doesn't have insurance.

Photo by Connie Toops. It was easy to imagine President Obama was at the rally. The young woman next to him talked about how her sister is afraid to become pregnant because she doesn't have insurance.

 

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Visit our new web site

It's official! We are WNC Health Advocates.
Please visit our new web site, Visit WNC Health Advocates
The new name reflects what we do -- advocate for health care for everyone and help people access and navigate our current health care system.
While we still hold onto the memory and the generous spirit of Mike Danforth, we need people to be able to see our name and understand who we are.

Help Life o’ Mike

We need your help now more than ever. Your tax-deductible donation will help us get Patient Pals and Family Friends to more people in need of peer support. Please consider a gift in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Donate here or mail your donation to Life o' Mike, PO Box 1213, Asheville, NC 28802.





Patient Pals & Family Friends

Life o' Mike has a peer support program for people with one or more serious or chronic medical issues or disabilities.

We aim to reduce isolation and fear among people who have conditions, including psychiatric illness, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, mild dementia or other cognitive disorder or disability, thereby reducing depression and complications as people learn to improve self-management of their medical conditions.

Patient Pals help alleviate feelings of isolation and frustration. They can help people develop a list of questions to ask the doctor and then accompany the person to the doctor to make sure all the questions are answered, taking notes to be sure the person understands the doctor’s answers.

Our trained volunteers also accompany their “Pals” to art exhibits, movies and walks outdoors, meet for coffee, call to check in and more.

Our Pals have experienced weight loss, improvement in diabetes, HIV, psoriasis, depression and more, just because they have someone who cares about them. Some relationships develop into longer-term friendships; other Pals move on to more independent lives.

Family Friends are there to help caregivers and other family members grow into their new role.

We need volunteers, who are asked to donate a minimum of one hour a week. Training is free and includes information on active listening, ways to help and when to know more help is needed.

And of course, we need funding.

To learn more, call Leslie Boyd at 828-243-6712 or e-mail lifeomike@gmail.com.

Life o’ Mike honors Joe Eblen


Life o' Mike presented its first Michael T. Danforth Community Service Award to Joe Eblen at a luncheon on June 8, in the Friendship Hall of First Congregational Church, 20 Oak St., Asheville.
Joe, seen here with Leslie Boyd, left, and his wife, Bobbie, has spent his life helping children and families, both as a coach and game official for more than 60 years, and as founder of Eblen Charities.

Start From Seed

Life o' Mike has a new program- Start from Seed (SFS).
SFS is a volunteer doula program aimed at providing non-medical, comprehensive support to low income, high-risk women and families of Buncombe County focusing on three areas:

1. We help new doulas with certification and training in return for their participation as a volunteer doula for SFS

2. We mentor volunteer doulas with their first few clients

3. Our volunteer doulas provide birth and postpartum doula services to low income, high risk moms, providing support and tools to empower them as a new parent.

A birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; a postpartum doula provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Start from Seed clients are referred to us from the Buncombe County Department of Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program, Western North Carolina Community Health Services, and Mission Hospital. The Program is intended and designed for growing clients’ inner strength and helping them gain empowerment to help them cope with the emotional, physical and mental challenges of childbirth, labor, and motherhood.

Our new moms and their infants have many needs. If you would like to help them get off to a good start, please visit our Start from Seed web site: Start from Seed, or call Program Director Chelsea Kouns at 804-814-9946.

Events in the community

Free birth and labor classes

Peaceful Beginning Doula Services holds free birth forums, Peaceful Birth, 6:30-8 p.m. the last Thursday of every month (except November) at Spa Materna, 640 Merrimon Ave., above The Hop, in Asheville.
All are welcome, expectant women and their partners are encouraged to attend anytime during their pregnancy. We also encourage doulas and other maternal/child professionals to attend and share in the discussions. The forums are "birth circle" style, focusing on normal birth which follows the Lamaze Six Care Practices for Healthy Birth. The forums are led by certified and experienced educators.

NAMI Family-to-Family Class

NAMI of Western Carolina holds 12-week classes for families and caregivers of individuals with a severe mental illness 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays at Charles George VA Medical Center, 1100 Tunnel Road in Asheville. The course covers major mental illnesses and self-care. Registration required. Info at 828-299-9596 or rohaus@charter.net.

Contact your representatives

Ask them what they're doing to fix health care!

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