Washington, DC, March 8-10, 2010

Training for the protest

Training for the protest

Training session
Training session
Training session pep talk

Training session pep talkKarlyn Barker of HCAN, my roommate Susan Braig and Bob ParkerBob Finkelstein waves for my camera.Strategy planning for the protestGathering in DuPont Circle

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Howard Dean took Mike's picture and talked about him to the crowd at DuPont Circle

Howard Dean took Mike's picture and talked about him to the crowd at DuPont Circle

Howard Dean talks about Mike during his speech at DuPont Circle.

Howard Dean talks about Mike during his speech at DuPont Circle.

I was at the head of the march from DuPont Circle to the Ritz Carlton

I was at the head of the march from DuPont Circle to the Ritz Carlton

Billionaires for Wealth Reform, which grew out of Billionaires for Bush.

Billionaires for Wealth Reform, which grew out of Billionaires for Bush.

The "sound stage" across from the Ritz Carlton, where America's Health Insurance Plans was meeting

The "sound stage" across from the Ritz Carlton, where America's Health Insurance Plans was meeting

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We chanted and carried signs -- we had between 3,000 and 5,000 people there, so it was LOUD.

We chanted and carried signs -- we had between 3,000 and 5,000 people there, so it was LOUD.

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Regina Holliday lost her husband to kidney cancer. She paints murals in Washington, DC, where she lives, to tell her story and others.

Regina Holliday lost her husband to kidney cancer. She paints murals in Washington, DC, where she lives, to tell her story and others.

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I was sitting in Rep. John Conyers' chair in the hearing room. We sat where members of Congress usually sit, and chimed a small Tibetan bowl every 12 minutes to comemmorate the person who died from a lack of insurance during that time.

I was sitting in Rep. John Conyers' chair in the hearing room. We sat where members of Congress usually sit, and chimed a small Tibetan bowl every 12 minutes to comemmorate the person who died from a lack of insurance during that time.

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Heather Mroz and Bob Finlelstein

Heather Mroz and Bob Finlelstein

Marcus Grimes, who went blind because he didn't have the money to pay up front for the surgery that would have saved his eyesight, with Bob Finkelstein, Kelly Cuvar and Bob Parker

Marcus Grimes, who went blind because he didn't have the money to pay up front for the surgery that would have saved his eyesight, with Bob Finkelstein, Kelly Cuvar and Bob Parker

Heather Mroz, Howard Dean and me in the green room at MSNBC.

Heather Mroz, Howard Dean and me in the green room at MSNBC.

Kelly Cuvar, who has had cancer for 11 years and can't see her oncologist because he is out-of-network, with Howard Dean.

Kelly Cuvar, who has had cancer for 11 years and can't see her oncologist because he is out-of-network, with Howard Dean.

Kelly Cuvar and me

Kelly Cuvar and me

Ed Shultz and me after the broadcast.

Ed Shultz and me after the broadcast.

Heather Mroz and Ed Shultz

Heather Mroz and Ed Shultz

Heather Mroz and Rep. Alan Grayson

Heather Mroz and Rep. Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson and me in the green room at MSNBC

Rep. Alan Grayson and me in the green room at MSNBC

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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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