Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The phone rang on a Friday night. The gentleman on the other end said "I have the opportunity of a lifetime for you." My instinct told me right away I was being invited to meet the President, but my mind said, "No Way!" President Obama was scheduled to come to speak at Macomb Community College the following Tuesday and I had been sending out e-mails to contacts to try to get tickets. The man on the phone said I was going to get a private meeting with the President of the United States of America. I almost fainted. My heart was beating a million miles a minute. I knew he was serious when he said you have 10 minutes to get me an e-mail with your info for the secret service to do a background check. I sent the e-mail in 5 minutes!
I was diagnosed with JRA at 18 months old. I am now 35 and on total disability. I graduated from Oakland University and became a CPA. My career was cut short due to a 3 year bout of Colitis and my JRA is not in control because the co-pay for the drug I need is $435 per month. That is why I became involved in the health care debate in Congress. I attended numerous rallies and visited Senator Levin's office in June. I told my story to anyone who would listen and started a blog to share my story with others. I give free advice and support at http://vicbosblog.blogspot.com/ . I'm not sure how exactly I was selected but I did meet some pretty important people at these health care rallies and I also volunteered during the 2008 campaign season to share my story with my community.
On July 14, 2009, my chance had arrived. I was instructed to meet my contact at the front of the line at Macomb Community College. We had a group of 8 community volunteers who were also invited. After waiting for hours, we got the signal from the secret service to follow them. We were escorted through what seemed like a maze of people, then a maze of hallways lined with black cloth drapes. We were put in a room that had been cleared out and the infamous black cloth drapes blocked the back half of the room that was full of chairs and tables stacked to the ceiling. The secret service agent asked if we had anything to give to the President. I gave him a copy of the Arthritis Foundation's Principles on healthcare reform and an article about my story that was in the local newspaper. After another short wait, we heard his voice in the hallway. We all had the same look on our face and no one talked. He entered the room and we all lit up with smiles. We all got our photos taken by the white house photographer, a handshake and an introduction. I told the President my name, and how honored I was to meet him. He responded "It's very nice to meet you, too." We all took our photos and he spoke to all of us of how important our volunteer work is to the healthcare reform debate. He was very grateful for all our hard work. "The fight's not over yet, we need to keep spreading the message of health care reform. Keep up the good work," he said. I exclaimed, "You can count on us Mr. President!" Then he left the room and went straight out onto the stage to give his speech.
This was a day I will never forget! Thank you Arthritis Foundation for giving me the opportunity to help others with this disease. We may have a disease but it doesn't have to have us!